My maternal grandmother has been on my mind a lot recently. For the past few months, actually. I’m not sure why. I guess everything just reminds me of her lately. She died in June 2009 within just a week of her birthday. She was also married just a few weeks after her birthday in July. Her father wouldn’t let her get married until she was sixteen so she married my grandfather a few days after her birthday. Sixteen. It was the 1950s. I got married at 23 and that feels young. I can’t imagine getting married at sixteen-years-old.
They were completely in love until the day she died. My grandfather has not stopped loving her. I remember my mother calling their house one time when I was about fifteen. The phone rang several times before they picked up and when my mom commented about that my grandma said, “Oh your father and I were tangled up on the couch.” That is one of my favorite memories of them as a couple, and defines what their relationship was like in my eyes. When I went through my feminist, woman-power stage I didn’t approve of the way she waited on him hand-and-foot, but I now see it as an important part of their marriage and something I wanted to emulate as a wife. She would cook dinner, get it all on the table and served, sit down, and then notice he didn’t have a drink. So she would get back up and get something for him. He always protested and told her to sit back down and that he would get it himself, but by the time he uttered one word she was already up and halfway back.
She didn’t just live to serve him. He treated her equally like royalty. He appreciated all she did for him and took care of her. I have this photo of them at a park. They are walking away from the camera and are holding hands. I remember when that photo was taken. I was a snotty, moody teenager, and even then I loved the scene.
My mother gets many of her traits from my grandmother and I from my mother. Whenever we are being stubborn or ornery we blame it on our heritage. Many of the traits that make us who we are came from her. Traits we love, but that others don’t so much love. 😉 My sister is really the worst of all of us. Definitely the meanest and most like my grandma. Love you, Rach!
Of all the legacy she’s left behind my favorite food-related things are apricot fried pies. She was from Oklahoma. Fried. In bacon drippins. So good. The apricot fried pies are a heavily guarded family secret so I can’t share it with you! Just kidding. Maybe I’ll share it one day. It is so simple and so delicious and so feels like home. For now I’ll share with you my spiced version of these pies. I use puff pastry, and I bake them. Mine are totally fabulous, too.
It was a happy coincidence that my mother and I decided to make this apricot filling on the same day. So I have in my fridge the classic family version and my spiced version just waiting to be spread on toast, served over ice cream, and stuffed into buttery pie crust.
Spiced-Apricot Pocket Pies
Makes about three cups of filling
2 Pounds Dried Apricots
1/2 Cup Sugar, or more to taste
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
Homemade or store-bought puff pastry or pie dough
-Place dried apricots in pot and cover with water
-Simmer over low heat, don’t boil, one hour (the apricots will absorb most of the water and double in size)
-Remove from heat and mix with an electric hand mixer until smooth
-Add more water if necessary to reach desired consistency. It should be the consistency of jam or preserves.
-Mix in sugar and spices
-Taste and adjust seasoning. The amount of sugar called for in this recipe makes it sweet, but still allows the tartness from the apricots to come through.
-Cool to room temperature then refrigerated in an airtight container.
This mixture will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to one year. If properly canned I’m sure it would last far longer.
To assemble the pies:
-Cut puff pastry or pie dough into three-inch squares
-Place one tablespoon of mixture in center
-Dip fingertip in water and run around edges of pasty dough
-Fold into a triangle and seal edges with the tines of a fork
-Prick top of sealed pies with fork to vent
-Bake in 350 Degree oven until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes
Two sheets of store-bought puff pastry yields 18 pies