22 June 2013
Plum pie two ways
Our backyard plums are ripe.
I always have a hard time using up the surplus of fruit our trees produce, mostly because we don't really eat jam on any sort of regular basis. So I end up going two ways: liqueur-making and baking. And since we still have quite a bit of plum schnapps from last year, baking was the clear winner.
I've baked these plums into a yogurt cake. I've chucked them into smoothies. I've stuck a bunch of them into crumbles and crisps. It was time for something different: PIE.
For someone with "pie" in the title of their foodblog, I certainly don't make it very often. I had a single coconut oil pie crust in the freezer, where it had been languishing since Thanksgiving. That's the last time I made a pie. So I decided to defrost it, roll it out, and fill it with all the fruit I could chop.
Our plums are tiny, juicy, and tart. I knew the usual plum pie recipes would probably be a bit off, since they're developed with supermarket plums in mind. So I broke out my trusty Joy of Cooking, looked up the instructions for sour cherry pie, and tweaked until I came up with this rendition.
I had to cut up about 30 of our little ping-pong-ball plums to achieve sufficient filling. If you're using larger supermarket plums, I'd guess 10 to 15 would be enough for one large pie or two smaller ones.
Make sure to get non-cling plums if you can. Did I mention that ours are super-cling? Yeah.
Instead of making a single pie, I decided to split up my dough and go for two: a rustic hand-formed guy and a neat little 7-inch tart. Double pies! Hooray!
Plum pie two ways
4.5 cups chopped plums
juice of half a lemon
3/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
2 tbsp cornstarch (up to 3 if your plums are super-juicy)
1 tbsp water (less for juicier plums)
crust of your choice
If your pie crust is frozen, take it out to defrost in advance. Otherwise, make up a batch of the pie crust of your choice. Since I was using coconut oil pie crust, my pie was vegan. Hooray!
Pit and chop your plums. Put them in a bowl and mix them with your lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, and water. Let this mixture sit for at least 15 minutes, so the plum juice begins to release and thicken.
While you're waiting, preheat the oven to 425F and roll out your dough to 1/4 inch thickness on the floured surface of your choice. Even though I was making two pies, I rolled out the entire slab of dough at once. Then I pressed it into my tart tin, rolled the pin over to cut off the extra dough, neatened up the tart edges with a few scraps, rerolled the leftovers for my rustic crust, and pricked both crusts all over with a fork. This worked fine, with no particular issue re crust tenderness.
You are also clearly free to just fill up a standard 9-inch pie pan instead of making two pies. Whatever floats your boat.
Put your tart tin and your rustic crust on a rimmed baking sheet before filling. (There will probably be juice leakage. I'm just saying.) Then pile your plum mixture into each crust. Fold up the edges of the rustic crust, overlapping the filling, and press together.
Bake your pietarts for 25 minutes at 425F. Then reduce the heat to 350F and continue baking for another 25 to 35 minutes. If you're making one larger pie, you'll want to do 30 minutes at 425F and up to 45 minutes at 350F. When lots of thick juice is bubbling up at the top of your pies, they are done.
I cut the rustic pie in half for immediate dessert purposes. The tart went into the fridge for future eatings. And lo, the next day, I totally ate pie for lunch. And then we ate more for dessert. DAYS UPON DAYS OF PIE.
We ate our pie totally plain, but ice cream is obviously an excellent addition. It would be a perfect contrast to the tangy acidity of the tart plums.
What are you making with all the new summer stone fruit?