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Cherry-Dried Apricot Pie

Pie Sweet Cakes Bakery 901 N. Damen. (Keith Hale/Sun-Times)

Pie at Sweet Cakes Bakery, 901 N. Damen. (Keith Hale/Sun-Times)

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Updated: February 11, 2011 5:09PM


1½ pounds frozen cherries

½ pound dried apricots

1 teaspoon whole black or multi-colored peppercorns

2 fresh thyme sprigs

1 cup sugar, divided, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 refrigerated (9-inch) pie crusts

Defrost cherries in a bowl in refrigerator. In another bowl, submerge apricots, peppercorns and thyme in room-temperature water to cover. Add ¼ cup of sugar to apricots. Stir completely to dissolve sugar and allow to reconstitute in refrigerator overnight.

For the filling: Drain cherries, reserving juice. Mix cherries with remaining ¾ cup sugar, tasting as you add. Combine reserved cherry juice with lemon juice and enough water to total 1 cup of liquid.

In quart-sized saucepan, bring cherry liquid to a boil. Make a slurry by whisking cold water and cornstarch until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to hot cherry liquid, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps. Add cherries and stir well. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for about 1 minute at a full boil, until thickened.

Remove pan from heat and add vanilla extract and salt. Taste and adjust with more sugar or lemon juice, as needed.

Strain apricots, reserving herbs and peppercorns. Mash up peppercorns; remove thyme leaves from stems. Add thyme leaves and cracked peppercorns to cherry mixture. Fold in apricots.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place one pie crust in 9-inch glass pie pan and crimp edges. Poke bottom several times with a fork. Pour fruit mixture into crust. Cut out small rounds from the second crust and arrange them decoratively on top to form.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, until filling is bubbly and top of pie is golden brown.

Adapted from Emily Smith, Sweet Cakes Bakery

Nutrition facts per serving: 367 calories, 12 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 65 g carbohydrates, 38 g sugars, 2 g protein, 213 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

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