Recently I had on my hands an abundance of stone fruit, all of which was ripening at a faster rate than I could eat it, especially since I have no one to share the fruit with (when I'm not with my family, I seem to be surrounded by friends with raw fruit allergies). Being that I love fruit and haven't had the time to bake anything, I decided to turn the fruit into my favorite little fruit salad.
Of course, that name is kind of a faux amis, because while this is essentially a fruit salad, there are some spices in the mix which I think turn it into something that's more pie-filling-esque. Upon re-reading that description, I don't know if I made this sound unappetizing, but I assure you that it is fantastic. It's also healthy, especially since you're not cooking any vitamins and antioxidants out of the fruit.
Plus, the "cold pie filling" name is actually fitting because it began as such. When I first started making this so-called fruit salad, I was mixing fruit and spices and letting them "marinate" while I got ready to make a pie. I've never been one for throwing flour or butter into my pie fillings (unnecessary calories), and that made it easy to taste-test my pie fillings before baking them, and whenever I had extra filling that didn't fit in the pie, I would eat it on its own (or with ice cream). And it was delicious.
Soon, out of laziness, I would just make this fruit salad/cold pie filling and forget about the pie part, because this was good enough, and it was an excellent way to use up fruit. I hope you feel the same way.
This is actually a very easy technique, which is making me start to feel like I'm cheating you all out of a "real" food blog read, but I promise the next update will be a genuine baking recipe. (Hint: it will involve apples)
Basically I slice and dice ripe plums and ripe nectarines or peaches. I tend to peel my fruit, especially because I let my fruit ripen to the soft stage where the skin gets a little leathery and while that's not pleasant to eat, it is easily peeled away from the flesh without even using a knife. For every six fruits (e.g. 4 plums and two nectarines), I add 1-2 tsp of sugar. The amount of sugar depends on how acidic your fruit is. I sometimes like to use raw sugar or demerara sugar because it adds a nice texture to it. Granted, if you do this and let the fruit salad sit for a while, the sugar will dissolve, but if you eat it within one hour, the texture is great. Then with 2 tsp of vanilla sugar, 3/4 tsp of cinnamon, ¼ to ½ cup orange juice (depending on how "juicy" you like your fruit salad to be), and a pinch of salt for balance you're done. It's so simple.
Of course, if your fruit isn't quite ripe or soft enough for this cold pie filling/ fruit salad, you can always nudge it that way with the help of some heat. In fact, that picture above is one I took the other week when I had some nectarines and raspberries that were just too sour to be enjoyed on their own. With some vanilla sugar, love, and low heat I nudged the fruit around until it was beautifully shlumpy on my spoon and could be eaten while sitting on the kitchen floor in my pajamas. Sometimes that's the best place to enjoy the simple things in life.