I can’t say I’m a stranger to plums, but I guess I’m not all that familiar with them either. For the most part, my encounters with them have either been in sauce or powder form – definitely not in any dessert. When I stumbled onto recipes for plum and peach pies on the internet (like this, this and this) on the internet, I was immediately intrigued. And the more I read these recipes the more convinced I was that these two fruits would make a great combination. Luckily, the neighborhood supermarket had both red and black plums last week (sadly, they don’t always – tropical climate, you see). I decided to grab a bunch of beautiful, juicy red plums because I wanted to work on a kind of pie that’d be perfect for summer.
The thing about these two fruits is that they are bound to produce a very juicy filling, so there’s no real need to pre-cook. Just toss together, add your spices, fill your pie crust and wait for them to cook beautifully together in the oven. But I like pre-cooking my filling – I can taste and add, the pastry doesn’t crack as much, the filling doesn’t shrink and the flavor and natural sugar of the fruit are much more concentrated. I gave the plums and peaches a quick stir in the pan, just enough so the spices and the honey have mixed well but still keeping a bite to the fruit.
This pie is probably one of my favorites. It’s bright and fruity and takes the spice of the cinnamon and nutmeg really well. (Oh, and my ever helpful taste-tester, Phil, tried it with a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia and proclaimed it a good match, so I know it can take strong flavors. Maybe next time I bake this, I’ll make some ginger ice cream to go with it.)
For the crust:
11 oz / 312.5 g / 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (more for dusting) OR 8 oz / 250 g / 2 cups of all-purpose flour + 2.2 oz / 62.5 g / 1/2 cup finely ground almonds (if you want to make the almond butter crust variety)
8 oz / 226 g / 2 sticks or one bar of unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
6-7 tbs of ice cold water
1 tbs of lemon juice or cider vinegar
For the filling:
6 red plums, pitted and sliced
6 peaches, pitted and sliced
1 tbs of cinnamon
1 tbs of nutmeg
1 1/2 cup of honey
1-2 tbs of lemon or orange juice
For the crust: Combine butter (cubed in large pieces) and mix in 2/3rds of the flour, salt, sugar and water. Work until no dry flour remains and the dough is clumpy. Add vinegar or lemon juice. Sprinkle the remaining flour and work until all the flour is incorporated. Divide in half. Roll into two balls. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Roll one ball and place in a 9-inch pie pan, roll and use the other for the cover.
For the filling: Toss fruit, honey and spices in your bowl or pan. If pre-cooking, cook until honey & spices are well mixed, but keep the fruit semi-firm. Cool for 30 min-1 hour before filling your crust.
Extra tip: Freezing your pie is a great way to make sure that the crust will come out extra tender and flaky layers. The bottom crust starts baking before the filling thaws, giving it a chance to get nicely crisp and brown.
Bake in a preheated 400ºF / 204ºC oven for 40 minutes (add 15-20 minutes baking time if baking the pie frozen). Cool. Have a slice or two. Serve with your favorite ice cream. Enjoy the summer.