Did you know January is Apple and Apricot month? I personally am a big fan of devoting each month to the celebration of food. Coming off of a holiday season filled with indulgences of all kinds, it’s a good opportunity to highlight some delicious fruits that will benefit your healthy New Year’s eating habits.
Apples have long held the title of a super healthy food. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?! This is likely due to the fact that apples strongly support digestion and are very cleansing for the liver. The pectin contained in apples can remove residues of mercury, lead, radiation, and cholesterol.
Now in eastern nutrition we look beyond the level of vitamins and minerals, to the energetic properties of foods. It’s the same approach we have with Chinese Herbal medicine, as food is essentially the greatest medicine.
Both apples and apricots are very moistening by nature. They benefit dryness by nourishing the Yin fluids of the body, particularly of the lungs. How appropriate for this time of year! I’ve been seeing so many of my patients suffering from the dryness of winter lately, with symptoms of dry cough, scratchy throat, inflamed sinuses, constant thirst, nosebleeds, and itchy skin. All of these issues are related to the lungs, and can benefit from the hydrating and moistening qualities that both apples and apricots offer.
Since it is winter, I tend to recommend against consuming too much fruit, as it’s energetically cold by nature. My previous blog post talks about what the best foods are to eat during the cold months. Because of that, I like to have my fruits cooked or baked. Here is a recipe for a pie that I like to make with these two super moistening fruits. It’s so delicious! I made it for my grandmother, whom I consider the greatest baker, and she loved it.
That’s a good gauge I’d say!
Whole Wheat Apricot and Apple Pie
For pastry dough :
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
7 tbsp chilled butter cut into cubes
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
a few drops of vanilla extract
10 fresh apricots, pitted, and halved or quartered
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp superfine sugar
- For the pastry dough combine flour, sugar, and butter in a bowl and work it together with your fingers till the mixture is sandy. Add egg plus extra egg yolk and vanilla and keep mixing till you have a smooth ball of dough. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap to refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Peel and core the apples and cut them into chunks. Add 1.5 Tbsp of the butter to a pan with the apples, brown sugar and water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook at medium heat for 15-20 minutes. The apples should looked a bit golden and collapse. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon, squishing the apples into a puree with your spoon.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a little extra flour, roll out your pastry dough onto a sheet of parchment paper to a 12-13 inch circle. With the parchment paper flip the dough into a ungreased 9 ½ inch springform or pie pan. Carefully peel the parchment off the dough and press the pastry onto the bottom of the pan.
- Spread the apple puree over the bottom and add the apricots on top. Sprinkle with the superfine sugar and dot with broken up pieces of the rest of the butter. Fold the pastry dough edge in over some of the filling so its wrapped in. Bake for 40 minutes or until the apricots look a bit brown and the pastry looks crisp. Enjoy!
* Recipe is adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros