When I was growing up, we had a few old twisted apple trees in the yard. In spite of a complete lack of attention, some years they would bear a bumper crop of sweet little apples. We ate them right off the tree, in pies, in cobblers and occasionally my mother would dry some in the warm Alabama sun. Peeled, sliced and spread on an old window screen, they soon turned dark and dry – ready to store for winter.
When the fresh apples were long gone, mother would cook the dried ones with water and sugar to make filling for her delicately flaky fried apple pies or as a bottom layer for her egg custard pie. Made with ingredients she had on hand, those unassuming pies were a surprisingly delicious balance of intensely tart and sweet.
Of course, we didn’t have to dry our own fruit, but the grocery store dried fruit section was pretty limited in those days. Now dried fruit is so popular. We have a lot of choices and resealable packaging makes it convenient to keep a variety on hand for baking or snacking.
It’s easy to create your own recipe variations with dried fruit. Add your favorites to muffin mixes, quick loaves, pancakes, cookies or cakes. There is no need to adjust the recipe. Simply stir the dried fruit of your choice into the batter and bake.
Here are some of my favorite muffin recipes with dried fruit and a link to Fried Pies, too!