Fruit pie inspiration (because summer is nearly here!)

If you're anything like us, you can't get enough of fruit pies (and want to bake them like a pro, too: We'd love to know: What are the fruit pies at the very top of your list?

Emily Kochman


Miss_Karen May 23, 2021
Grilled white peach tarts.
Emily K. May 25, 2021
Can't wait for peaches!
702551 May 22, 2021
I don't follow any particularly recipes for fruit tarts.

The overarching principle is that the ingredients needs to be first rate: flour & butter for the dough and the fruit quality.

Not all fruit cultivars are equal and much of the success of the final product will largely depend on which fruit variety you choose.

Over at Serious Eats, Kenji Lopez-Alt did a comparison of various apple varieties for apple pie. Naturally he just used the varieties available in his nearby market(s). Some cultivars will produce better results than others.

I have my own favorites for locally available commercial grown fruit. Sometimes there are great cultivars available like Santa Rosa plums or Blenheim apricots.

For other fruit, all of the commonly available commercial fruit is mediocre. SF Bay Area farmers market stands almost exclusively feature Seascape or Albion strawberries, two decidedly insipid varieties.

I also have my favorite berries with the local olallieberries being my preference over local blackberries or raspberries. Unfortunately the olallies have a very short season.

Growing your own fruit (and being judicious about which varieties you select) will definitely give better results than whatever fruit is sold at the supermarket.

Unfortunately most commercial farmers today will grow what is more commercially viable (quick growing, high pest resistance, heavy yield, easy to pick and durable for distribution) rather than select varieties that have better taste.

Based on my local availability, some fruit tarts simply aren't worth it (strawberry tart) where other tarts work great (Gravenstein apple tart).

In summary, let local availability of top quality fruit guide your summer fruit tart baking decisions.
702551 May 22, 2021
I forgot to mention that commercial fruit is also heavily selected for appearance. Today's American consumer favors really large fruit.

While Blenheim apricots have superior flavor, they don't look impressive. They are small and often have green shoulders that never entirely disappear even when the fruit is fully ripe (this cultivar ripens from the inside out). They are also very fragile and don't transport well.

My beloved Santa Rosa plums are also on the small side.

There's also the notion of convenience. Stone fruit come in freestone and cling cultivars and the former is considered more commercially appealing for the American consumer. Americans like seedless grapes for eating versus grapes with tannic pips. Easy to peel Satsuma mandarins are more popular than tastier/hard-to-peel Page mandarins. The list goes on and on.
Emily K. May 25, 2021
Thanks for sharing these insights and ideas, 702551! We completely agree with letting the local availability of the best quality fruit guide your pie-baking decisions (and of course this can also apply to any other kind of baking or cooking, too!).
HalfPint May 21, 2021
Cherry pie
Emily K. May 25, 2021
One of our favorites :).
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