Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Pie a Week - Midweek pie

Sometimes you just want a pie. The other day I realized our tree was full of ripe plums that no one but a fat gray squirrel was appreciating - you could watch the branches tremble as he leapt from one to the next, munching on ripe plums.


I went outside and gathered what I could reach. The ripe ones simply fell into my hand at a touch.


They were so immediate, so fragile, and so fragrant that I knew I couldn't let them stand overnight without cooking them. Plum pie!


Here's where I used a little trick from Ken Haedrich's book "Pie." You know how, whenever you make a pie, you end up with the outer pieces of dough? My mother used to gather those together, roll them out, and bake them on a cookie sheet, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. But Haedrich has another suggestion - flatten the remaining dough into a disc, put it in a ziplock bag, and freeze it. Every time you make a pie you'll have a little bit of dough. There's not very much dough there but if you freeze these bits each time, soon you will have enough for a whole pie.

Thaw them and stack the discs up and flatten them all together again. It doesn't really matter if the dough is from different recipes - some with butter, some with shortening. (as long as they're all basic dough, not flavored or with different kinds of flour). They will meld and blend together as you roll it out.


You can see here patches where one of my bits of dough perhaps had egg yolk or was all-butter.


But it doesn't matter. You'll soon have a nice pie shell, without the hassle of messing with flour and mixing.

For this plum pie, I cut the plums into chunks and sprinkled them with a cup of sugar. I took a cup of confectioner's sugar and a 1/4 cup of pine nuts and whirled them in the food processor, resulting in a mealy kind of powder. I sprinkled a layer of this powder on the bottom of the crust, then topped it with the fruit - using a slotted spoon to keep some of the liquid out.


I had held back some plums and now I sliced them into prettier slices, which I laid in a pattern on the top. Then I sprinkled the pie with the remaining sugar-pine nut mixture, and then with whole pine nuts.

Into a 350 degree oven it went for 45 minutes.


Then I pulled out a plum pie! Mmmm. The flavor was tart, vivid, and delicious. And the crust? Not bad for a quickie!

7 comments:

Nej said...

I love the patience you use to make your pies look so awesome!!!

smalltownmom said...

Your pies are inspiring...hmmm my peaches are ripening this week...

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I went outside and gathered what I could reach. The ripe ones simply fell into my hand at a touch.

I love this feeling- the plant is giving you the fruit, it's an act of love- an "act of love", too!

They were so immediate, so fragile, and so fragrant that I knew I couldn't let them stand overnight without cooking them.

Having been scarfing wild berries by the handful for the past three weeks, I was planning on writing something similar in a post. Something like, "wild berries, as precious, delicious, and ephemeral as an early summer day."

Thanks, once again, for the sheer beauty of your posts!

Blondie's Journal said...

Your pie is beautiful. I've never had plum pie... the pine nuts sound like a nice addition!

xoxo
Jane

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

It turned out beautifully. I always do the butter and cinnamon sugar treatment to crust scraps. I think I like them even better than the pie!

Gilly said...

Another fantastic pie! You are just so clever! And I love the way you arrange your plum slices - that takes time!

Those plums look really good, too. Do you know the variety?

kcinnova said...

I wish I lived next door. I'd happily be your taste-tester!