1 3/4poundsripe but firm apricots, pitted and quartered (about 5 cups)
1 1/4poundssweet cherries, stemmed and pitted (about 3 cups)
zest of 1/2 a lemon
3/4cupplus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4cupplus 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
1tablespoonmilk or cream
Make the crust:
Fill a 1 cup measure with ice cubes, and add cool water to cover. Set aside.
In a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachmenstir together the flours and salt. Scatter the butter slices over the flour and rub in with your fingertips (or the paddle, on lountil the mixture resembles sandy gravel with lots of almond-sized butter chunks. Stir together the buttermilk and 3 tablespoons of ice water. Drizzle this mixture over the flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a rubber spatula (or mixing on low), until the dough just holds together when you give it a squeeze and no dry, floury bits remain. Add more ice water by the teaspoon directly to the dry bits if needed.
You can call it here, or you can do either or both of the steps below for extra flake:
Option 1 -fraisage:
Dump the dough out onto a counter, divide it roughly into 6 portions, and fraisage by dragging a portion of dough across the counter using the heel of your hand. (See the photo here.) Scrape up the dough (a metal bench scraper works well here), gently press it into a ball and flatten into a disc. Slip it into a plastic bag, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Option 2 - roll, fold, roll:
On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough out into a rough square that is about 1/4" thick. Fold it in thirds like you're folding a letter, then roll up from a skinny end into a loose spiral. Gently press to flatten it slightly, and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
While the dough chills, pit the cherries and quarter the apricots.
Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a 16-17" circle, dusting the dough lightly with flour as needed, rotating and flipping it to prevent it from sticking. (If you've folded the dough, it will want to roll into a rectangle, so make sure that the narrowest parts measure 16-17" across.) Ease the dough into a 9" (glaspie plate, fit it into the corners, and trim it to a 3" overhang. Place the plate on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment for easy clean-up, and chill while you prepare the fruit.
Make the fruit filling:
In a large bowl, combine the apricots, cherries, lemon zest and juice. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, tapioca and salt. Gently fold the sugar mixture into the fruit, tossing to coat, and let sit for 10-20 minutes to begin to release the fruit's juices and dissolve the sugar.
Pour the fruit and its juices into the chilled crust, and pack it down gently but firmly; it should sit just above the sides of the pan. Fold the overhang over the top of the fruit, as if folding a galette; make the pleats as small or as large as you like.Brush the top of the dough with the cream and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Freeze the pie for 20 minutes, while you position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 450ºF.
Place the pie, still on its parchmented sheet pan, in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350º and continue baking until the fruit is bubbling furiously and has overflowed the crust a bit, 60-70 more minutes. Let the pie cool completely, at least 2-4 hours, or up to overnight. The pie is best shortly after being cooled, but will keep at room temperature for a day or two, and longer in the fridge, though bring slices to warm room-temperature for the most pleasant experience.
Inspired by Deborah Madison's Seasonal Fruit Desserts.If you lack buttermilk for the crust, you can omit it, or try subbing sour cream or plain yogurt (the acids in cultured dairy promote tender flakiness, but aren't essential).For the flakiest dough and a well-set, sliceable pie, allow 5-7 hours from start to finish, which is mostly inactive chilling/baking/cooling time. (The dough can be made ahead and chilled for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.)I give two options for making extra-flaky dough: fraisage, and folding (details in the recipe, below). I always do both now, since it doesn't take much more time and effort, and results in a shatteringly-crisp, tender crust. But feel free to be lazy and stop after you've added the ice water.Also feel free to swap out other types of fruit for the apricots and cherries (I give some suggestions in the post, above), though the amounts of sugar and tapioca may need adjusting. 6 tablespoons of tapioca make this pie sliceable; reduce the amount to 4 or 5 tablespoons if you prefer a softer set.A scoop of ice cream (suggestions also above) turns a slice of this pie into a spiritual experience.Nutritional values are based on one of eight servings.