Thursday, July 25, 2019

Plum Crumb Pie

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie IdeasThe stone fruits are abundant this month, and I can't get enough of them.  Peaches sliced on cereal, or topped with yogurt and cinnamon for dessert, and cherries just for snacking.  I have plans for apricots and cake very soon.

A few weeks ago, I brought home a bag full of beautiful plums, and immediately set about making a crumble topped plum pie.
I've never had a plum pie, and I'm guessing most people haven't either, since it's not nearly as common of a summer dessert as a classic peach pie.  But the fruits are very similar, so I didn't feel like much adjusting of my peach pie recipe would be necessary to make a fantastic pie.

The peels contain much of the tart plummy flavor that's associated with plums, but they add an unpleasant texture to pie or jam, so the peels had to go.  I used a combination of both black and red plums, but with the peels gone, the yellow flesh inside the plums was mild, with a tart sweetness that was perfect for pie filling.  I spiced the plums with cloves, ginger and vanilla, and if you feel so inclined to freeze some plums for winter, the flavors would be wonderful for a Thanksgiving or Christmas pie, too.

The texture of the pie filling was quite like a peach pie, with a surprising flavor from the plums that was just wonderful.  With generous amounts of crumb topping heaped over the fruit and baked into a crisp, buttery golden brown crumble, it was the perfect summer pie.

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie Ideas

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie Ideas

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie Ideas

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie Ideas

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie Ideas

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie Ideas

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie Ideas

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie Ideas

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie Ideas

Baking Notes:
  1. You can use either red or black plums, and I made mine with four red and four black.  Note that despite the color of the peel, the flesh inside both varieties is yellow.  Eight large plums should be sufficient, but if your plums are on the smaller side (like as small as apricots), you'll need to use a few more.
  2. The texture of this pie is similar to a peach pie, but with a slightly more tart flavor.
  3. The cloves and ginger complement the flavor of the plums beautifully, but you can use any spices you like.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or even cardamom would be great.
  4. I browned the butter for my crumb topping, and it's really fantastic.  If you don't take the time to brown your butter, use 7 tablespoons of melted butter instead of a full 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons), since some of the water in the butter evaporates during the browning process.

Plum Crumb Pie

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk, cold
  • 8 large plums
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper to catch any drips.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Continue to cook the butter, swirling occasionally, until the water has evaporated and nutty brown solids form at the bottom of the pan.  Scrape the butter, including the browned bits, into a bowl.  Stir in the brown sugar, flour and salt, using a fork to toss the crumbs until moist and crumbly.  Set aside.

While the butter is browning, you can get started on your crust.  In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Cut the butter into 8 pieces, scatter over the flour, and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are no bigger than peas.  Drizzle the buttermilk over the mixture, and toss with a spoon to combine.  Dump the mixture out onto a clean work surface and use your hands to bring the dough together; it will start off dry, but will come together into a dough ball as you gather and press the crumbs together.  Don't overwork the dough; stop as soon as it forms a ball.

Flour your work surface, and roll the dough out to between 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick.  Fit into a deep-dish pie pan and use a knife to trim the edges.  Sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour over the bottom of the crust (this helps prevent a soggy bottom).  Set the pan in the refrigerator to chill the dough while you make the filling.

Be sure to peel your plums - the peel will add an unpleasant texture to your pie, even though the peel has a wonderfully tart flavor.  You can peel them with a paring knife, or by very quickly blanching them in boiling water, which will help the peels slip off easily.  Slice the peeled plums into 1/4 inch slices.  In a large bowl, toss the sliced plums with the sugar, corn starch, cloves, ginger and vanilla until well coated.

Set your pie pan with the prepared crust on top of the baking sheet.  Pour the filling into the crust.

Bake the pie (without the topping) at 425 for 20 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375, and take the pie out of the oven so you can pile the crumb topping over the fruit (it's a generous amount of topping, but it will be just the right amount after it's baked).  Return the pie to the oven, and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes, until the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges.  If needed, lay a piece of foil loosely over the top of the pie to keep it from over-browning.

Set the pie on a cooling rack, and let cool for about 4 hours before serving.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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