I was a very happy cook over the past couple of months having discovered a group of wild fig trees in the field behind our property here in Umbria. Every other day I was able to visit the trees and bring home a huge basket of plump, ripe green figs. Sadly, I visited the trees yesterday and there was not even a single fig left to pick but after the bounty we have enjoyed this season I really can’t complain. I made this delicious fig, apple and walnut pie in a variety of ways over the past two months while our figs were in season and realized I had not yet shared it with you. It is a simple filling made of chopped figs, diced apples, chopped walnuts, Marsala wine and spices that I gently cook first to meld the ingredients together.
As I have stated in earlier posts, I am not a fan of fussy pie pastry but the recipe I use here is fail proof and goes together so easily that I would be happy to make a pie every day if I needed to. It also produces an extremely flaky tender crust that is perfect for tender fruit fillings. The pastry recipe given does make two pies though, so you can either forge ahead and make both at once, or wrap one half the dough in plastic wrap and freeze it for another time. To cut shapes out of your top crust as in my photo, simply use a sharp, small cookie cutter and cut out the shapes once the dough has been rolled before placing it over the filling. You can “adhere” the shapes you have cut to the top crust by using the milk as glue.
The photo at top shows a traditional double crusted pie described in the recipe while I am including a photo of a free form crostata type of pie below. To create the free form pie, simply roll a circle of dough about 14 inches in diameter, pile your filling into the center, and then fold over the edges, pinching the dough at intervals to help it lie flat.
My Free Form Fig Apple Crostata
Deborah Mele 2011
- This recipe makes enough dough for two pies so you will have enough leftover for another pie.
- 4 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 3/4 Cups Shortening
- 1/2 Cup Cold Water
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
- 4 Tablespoons Milk
- 4 Tablespoons Sugar
- 3 Cups Coarsely Chopped Figs (Cut Off Tough Tops And Bottoms First)
- 2 Large Granny Smith Apples, Peeled, Cored And Diced
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/4 Cup Marsala Wine (Sweet Version)
- To make the pastry, mix together the flour, salt and sugar.
- Cut the shortening up into pieces and use a pastry cutter to work the shortening into the flour until the mixture is in pea sized pieces.
- Mix together the water, egg, and vinegar in a cup, then add the egg mixture into the flour and mix until it is just combined.
- Form one half the pastry dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Place in the refrigerator for one hour, and store the other half for future use in the freezer.
- For the filling, place all of the filling ingredients into a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar melts and the figs begin to break down, then remove from the heat and cool.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Divide the dough in half and roll one half on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick and will cover the bottom and sides of a 10 inch pie pan.
- Fold the dough over your rolling pin and center it over the pie pan.
- Gently press in to fit along the bottom and up the sides allowing excess to extend over the sides.
- Pour the filling into the pie and smooth evenly.
- Roll out the other half of the dough and center over the pie pan.
- Gently crimp the edges with your fingers along along the edges to seal and then use a sharp knife to cut off any excess dough.
- Cut four vents into the pie and brush the top lightly with the milk.
- Sprinkle the sugar over the milk while still damp.
- Bake the pie for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until the crust is lightly browned and the filling is bubbly and thick.(If the crust browns too much while baking, gently cover with aluminum foil.)
- Cool 15 minutes before serving.