2 pounds apricots (or other fruit), very ripe, cut into bite-size pieces (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons or more sugar, depending on sweetness of fruit, plus more for top
2 tablespoons flour
Pinches of any spices that would compliment (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, etc.)
Pinch of grated lemon zest
Pie dough to fit top of dish
1 large egg, beaten
1 9-inch pie crust
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the fruit, sugar and flour. Add optional spices and lemon zest. Transfer the mixture to a 9- or 10-inch baking dish.
Roll out pie dough to about 1/4-inch thick, more substantial than you would with a normal pie crust. Cut in a circle slightly larger than top of baking dish. Carefully transfer the pastry to the baking dish and press down gently. Tuck the sides down.
With any left-over dough, cut out decorative pieces for top of pie: a message, a clue to the fruit below, or a branch and leaves. Brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a few pinches of sugar.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until top begins to brown. Then lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the fruit: ripe apricots take about 15 minutes, less-ripe pears or apples can take 30 minutes. You'll know it's done when a syrupy liquid begins to bubble up the sides of the dish. Watch that the crust doesn't burn; if it is getting too brown but the filling isn't bubbly yet, cover the top with foil.
Serve with a spoonful of plain yogurt, whipped cream, crème fraîche, or mascarpone.
This recipe has been updated. Originally published June 2009.