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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Red Plum Pie

I'm starting to realize how much of a pie person I really am.  I like it because there really aren't any rules.  The other day I saw some beautiful red plums on sale so I bought a bunch.  Plums are hard to choose.  If they are too firm, you don't get much of the juicy goodness when you bite into it.  If they are not firm enough, you bite into mush, and it is not the most pleasant experience.  These plums, though, were perfect.  They were eyes-roll-back good, and I figured they would make a perfect dessert to my little dinner party.  Now here's why I like making pie so much:  just create the recipe as you go.  I have by go to shortcrust that rarely changes.  I usually go half buckwheat, half white flour, and some sort of spice..cinnamon, nutmeg, pain d'épices, ginger..sometimes I put chili powder in it just for kicks.  The rest is just imagining how flavors will mesh, if I want a dry tart consistency or a more custard like consistency, and then adapt and ta of a kind home made pie that you'd better hurry up and write down the recipe before you forget what you did.  Luckily, I always remember to measure just in case it turns out edible.  In this case, I was imagining some sort of almond custard, but most importantly, I wanted a zippy topping.  Not too long ago I made these delicious orange anise cookies that were gluten free.  They held together enough for the photo, but when I stored them in their airtight cookie container, they stuck together and all. I was ever able to retrieve from the container were pieces and crumbs, but never an entire cookie.  I probably should have let them cook longer and let them "dry out" longer before storing them, but hey, lets not dwell on the past, ok?  Those crumbs were the most tangy delicious crumbs I could get my hands on and I was not going to let them go to waste.
Serves 8
1 lb (450g) red plums, pitted and sliced into wedges
2 eggs
1/4 cup (50g) cassonade or brown sugar plus 2 Tbsp for sprinkling
1/4 cup (50g) ground almonds
dash milk
some cookie crumbs for sprinkling (mine were orange anise cookies)
shortcrust (I used half buckwheat, half T80 flour)
1. Cover the rim of the uncooked shortcrust with foil, poke the bottom a few times with a fork, sprinkle it with some sugar, and pre-cook it for 10 minutes in the oven at 190°C 375°F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whip together the eggs, sugar, ground almonds, and a dash of milk.
3. Lay the wedges into the crust and pour the almond mixture in.
4. Bake for 10 minutes at 220°C 425°F, then sprinkle on the cookie crumbs
and reduce to 175°C 350°F for 30 minutes or before the cookie crumbs start to burn.
 5.  Let cool at least 30 minutes before attacking it.
This was my first time using plums in a pie, so I wasn't too sure how it was going to come out.  The result was perfect.  It held together nicely, there were no wet juices flowing, and the flavors worked well together.  Cooked plums taste a bit like cherries.  Actually, I wouldn't have recognized the fruit if I hadn 't cooked them myself.  If you dońt like cherries, this pue is probably not for you, but I love cherries, so this pie was a definite win!
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