We have a loquat tree in our backyard. Some years it doesn’t do much, but this year the fruit on it was abundant! So much so that we decided to make a pie. (Our family has a thing for pies.)
Now loquats are tiny, tasty little fruits, also known as Japanese plums, and they have several seeds in the middle. The recipe I found called for 4 cups of loquats, but I doubled that, wanting to fill the whole pie dish. Needless to say, even if you do have easy access to loquats, this recipe is not for the faint of heart.
It wasn’t difficult to get 8 cups from our happy little tree – using only the ones in arm’s reach (there are hundreds in the high branches if we weren’t too lazy to get out a ladder), my sister and I picked 173 of them in 10 minutes.
Then I set about the arduous task of de-seeding and chopping up those 173 loquats. That’s right. One hundred and seventy-three. And I saved all the seeds just to include them in this picture.
My fingernails turned brown from the 3 hours of de-stemming, de-seeding, and chopping… and this picture was after I picked all the dirt out from under the nails. No, this pie was not one of those “quick and easy” recipes.
I had the sense to do all this work the night before, then I doused them with lemon juice, covered them with plastic wrap, and set them in the refrigerator overnight.
On the up-side, it was one of the tastiest! But how could it not be when the main portion of the filling was home-grown in one’s own backyard?
This was also the cheapest pie we’ve ever made – we bought nothing and used only ingredients that we already had – flour, sugar, spices, and… oh yeah, the loquats we walked outside to pick!
But you want the pie recipe. Well, with all that prep work behind you, the recipe itself is pretty straightforward. You begin by cooking the loquats in water in a large pot on the stovetop. It took about 15 minutes on medium heat for me.
While that’s cooking, you can make the pie crust and throw together the “dry ingredients” – sugar and all those spices.
Keeping the loquats cooking on medium heat, dump in all those dry ingredients and add some vanilla too.
We thought it looked a little like baked beans here – haha. This was before I added the lattice crust top and popped it into the oven – starting at 450 for 10 minutes, then changing to 350 for 30 minutes.
OK, so it was a little overfilled, but it turned out beautifully!
The smell was heavenly! It actually reminded us of wassail, but it also had that great loquat flavor too (which combines the taste of a peach, citrus, and mango).
Some other recipes suggested using part brown sugar and part sugar, or adding raisins, which sounded interesting, but I just stuck to the basics.
Since I increased the amount of loquats from 4 cups to 8 cups (which just barely fit in the pan), I also increased the water from ½ cup to a full cup, and the flour from 2 tbsp. to 4 tbsp. And I was a little heavy-handed with the spices.
This was a delicious pie. The hours of preparation were worth it, but I don’t know that I could make them on a regular basis. Our loquats are only in season at this time of year though, so I guess we’ll have to wait until next year (if they produce) to make it again. Delicious and unique!
8 cups of loquats
1 cup of sugar
½ - ¾ cup water
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. cloves
⅛ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
top and bottom crust for 9-inch pie
- Wash and quarter loquats, removing seeds. (If you do this step several hours in advance, douse with lemon juice before storing in refrigerator.)
- Combine loquats and water on stovetop and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes until loquats are tender.
- Combine dry ingredients, then stir into loquats, adding vanilla as well. Cook until thickened (about 15 minutes); remove from heat and cool.
- Pour into pastry-lined pan, add top crust, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then 350 degrees for 30 minutes.