You can make this pie with Bing cherries, but I love the sweetness of the Rainier cherries teamed with the tartness of the fresh apricots. I have also made this pie using an almond crumble topping, but we’ll save that for later in the season.
The Crust (a loose adaptation from King Arthur Flour and Bon Appetit)
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup lightly toasted almonds, finely chopped or quick pulse in food processor
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
8 oz. (two sticks) unsalted cold butter, cut into pieces
3 Tablespoons of ice cold water
Blend flours, almonds, salt, brown sugar and zest in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. (You can also make this by hand, cutting the butter into the dry ingredients or in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulsing the butter into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix.) Add the butter, mixing until crumbly. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, divide in two, and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough at least one hour before rolling out.
Apricot/Cherry filling (a hybrid of pies from Sunset magazine and the Farm Journal)
1 lb. 6 oz. Rainier cherries (pitted should equal 4 cups)
1 lb. 8 oz. fresh apricots (halved, pitted, thickly sliced should equal 4 cups)
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2” length of vanilla bean, split with a small knife, seeds scraped into the sugars
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
egg wash made with one egg yolk and 2 Tablespoons of cream or whole milk
1 Tablespoon sugar for sprinkling over the top crust
When ready to bake the pie, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll out one circle of dough to about 1/8” thick and place it into a 9” pie plate. The dough is gentle and softens quickly. Place the pie plate back in the fridge. Roll out the other disc (the upper crust) on a sheet of parchment paper that you have dusted with flour. Place this in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
(I did not use a spice in the mix- you can certainly use cinnamon or nutmeg or ginger. For me, this pie is all about the fruit with just a note of almond in the crust.)
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugars, vanilla bean seeds, cornstarch and zest.
In a large bowl, gently toss together the cherries and apricots. Combine the orange juice and almond extract, drizzle over the fruit. Coat the fruit with the sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, zest mixture. Turn fruit into the pie plate, cover with second round of pie dough. Seal and crimp edges, prick the center of the pie with a fork to allow steam to escape. Paint the crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Place pie on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent over browning. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, then turn oven down to 375 for an additional 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on things here; if the crust is browning too quickly, you can reduce it to 350 and bake it a bit longer.) The pie is ready when the juices are thick and bubbling. (It baked for one hour and 10 minutes in my oven.) Set aside to cool on a rack before slicing.