Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rustic Plum Pie

I never used to bake pies. I think I tried once before – it was suppose to be a peach pie, and it turned out a disaster. I used store bought crust, and the bottom of the pie was just raw. Maybe I didn’t bake it long enough… who knows it was a long time ago. Since than I decided that pies are just not my specialty. Lately I’ve been going through all my old magazine subscriptions and I found so many great looking pies, that I decided to give a home made pie one more chance. For filling I choose plums! It’s not your traditional pie filling, but I love plums and I think they don’t get enough attention in baking and cooking. Growing up, I always remember plum pies, plum jams, plum preserves, my mom used to can plums for the winter. I always liked plums. We even had couple of plum trees growing in the backyard – one of them had the best white plums I ever had. I don’t think I’ve ever seen those here, in US. Anyway – going back to my plum pie – to make it more interesting I added about 1 cup of defrosted blackberries, and 2 small pears, diced. Pear gave it a different texture, different bite to it, and the blackberries added great color. It was just enough to not overpower the flavor, but enhance the look of the pie. Overall the pie turned out wonderful, plums tasted just like they should, sweet, juicy, with a hint of vanilla and berry. This just might be one of my favorite pie flavors.

Crust Pie Dough

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into chunks

Approx. 2/3 cup cold water

I used my newly purchased KitchenAid stand mixer to make the dough. It was super easy and fast. Put flour, salt, and sugar in a mixer bowl, and stir together. Cut butter into small pieces and mix in with the flour mixture. Use stir speed to combine the ingredients. Add 1 TBS of cold water – one at the time to the mixture, until the dough is formed. Divide dough in half, shape each half into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. It can be put in to the freezer to speed up the chilling process. {Traditional way of making the pie crust dough: Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in butter with your fingertips until mixture is very coarse, but no pieces bigger than a large pea remain. Using a fork, stir in cold water until dough almost comes together into a ball.}

Pie Filling

1 recipe for crust pie dough
6-7 fresh plums, larger in size
1 or 2 small pears – diced
1 cup frozen blackberries – defrosted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For Brushing
2 tbsp milk
1 egg white or whole egg
3-4 tbsp [coarse] sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Wash plums and remove the pits. Cut the plums in to quarters or smaller pieces, it’s actually easier to cut the pie when the pieces of plums are little smaller. Peel the pears, and dice them in about half an inch dice. Defrost your blackberries. Place plums, pears and berries in a large bowl, add in sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla extract and stir well until combined. Set aside.
Roll out the bottom pie crust on a lightly floured surface, making sure there will be a bit of overhang around the edge of the pie plate, and transfer to pie plate. Fill pie crust with plum mixture. Roll out top pie crust, and lay on top of the pie plate, crimping or pinching edges to seal filling in completely.

Brush the top of the crust with milk and egg mixture and sprinkle generously with sugar, preferably coarse sugar. Cut several slits in the top crust with a sharp kn ife. Bake for 65-75 minutes, until crust is well browned and the filling is thick and bubbling through the vents on the top of the pie. Cool pie on a wire rack completely before slicing, to ensure that the filling thickens up and sets.

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