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[Photograph: Sarah Baird]

It wasn't until very recently that apricots became a major player in my personal wheelhouse of fruit, having taken a backseat for ages to the nectarine and all-mighty peach. With their smaller stature and smooth textures, apricots have always seemed an exotic departure from their stone fruit counterparts. In this Apricot Almond Pie, the vowel-heavy dynamic duo brings just the right balance of tart and crisp to a dessert that's just itching for a dollop of ice cream.

Almonds and apricots are perhaps one of the most ancient and revered of all nut-and-fruit parings, having shared plates for centuries and across cultures. They spring from the same family, and the pits of apricots are often used to replace almonds in the creation of the almond-flavored liqueur Amaretto. Apricots have played a starring role in the teachings of Confucius, Armenian music, and as a key aphrodisiac in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Almonds similarly have plenty of global lore surrounding their consumption—almond trees known the world over as symbols of hope.

During my first attempt at making the dough, I added in 1 teaspoon of almond extract and 1 of vanilla, which made the dough sweeter but drowned out some of the more subtle nuances of the almond flavor. If you're looking to sweeten the dough, an extra 2 tablespoons of brown sugar provides just the right amount of saccharine kick. A self-proclaimed nut about almonds? An additional 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract will give the crust an extra buttery, nutty flavor.

While apricots aren't a fruit known for their juiciness, the thin layer of almonds between the crust and the fruit serves as a protective barrier to prevent the bottom of the pie from becoming too soggy. If you're an almond lover, feel free to double layer the almonds for an extra bite on the bottom.

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Apricot Almond Pie »


About the author: Sarah Baird is a writer, editor, and petit four aficionado living in New Orleans, Louisiana. She likes planning elaborate dinner parties surrounded by her collection of dwarf citrus trees. You can read her latest musings and about her various misadventures on her website: hellosarahbaird.com or follow her on Twitter: @scbaird.

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