Like Christmas, apricot season comes but once a year ― and it's over about as quickly as Christmas morning. But that season is intense. A corner of my father's almond orchard in California's Central Valley has always been reserved for fruit trees, so every summer we were overwhelmed with stone fruit. In spite of valiant efforts, we just couldn't eat it fast enough.
My mother didn't want to let the fruit go to waste, so she made the apricots into pie filling and froze it. Sunset test kitchen manager Bernadette Hart adds the extra tip of freezing the filling in the shape of the pan so it can be dropped right from the freezer into a pastry shell and baked.
Now that I live in San Francisco, I'm no longer troubled by an excess of perfectly ripe summer fruit; I buy it at a farmers' market. But for me, there's no better dessert than apricot pie, with its slightly bitter edge, so I still freeze a couple of fillings every summer, just to have that bittersweet pleasure anytime I like.