The countdown to the 6th annual Good Food Pie Contest is rapidly approaching, and this Sunday is your last chance to enter your pie! In case you were concerned that apples were your only option for a fruit pie, fear not! Plums, strawberries and blueberries are still in season. Here’s a plum pie for some stone fruit inspiration from Amelia Saltsman, author of the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook.
Muerbeteig (cookie) Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup pareve margarine or butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon brandy
1 ½ to 2 pounds European plums (also called French, Italian, or prune plums)
3 to 5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons plum preserves, optional
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Make the crust: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir together the egg yolk and brandy and stir into the flour-butter mixture until the dough comes together.
Gather the dough into a ball and place in the center of 9-inch pie plate or tart pan with a removable bottom. Use your fingertips to pat the dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling. The crust may be prepared to this point up to a day ahead.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash, quarter and pit the plums. European plums are not free-stone fruit; the flesh and pit don’t part company easily. Here’s what I do: run a sharp small knife around each plum starting at the stem end so that the knife point reaches all the way to the pit. Give the plum a half turn and repeat the cut. With your fingers, free the plum quarters from the pit. Some plums will release more easily than others. Place plum pieces in a mixing bowl and add the sugar, preserves, brandy, flour, and lemon zest and toss gently to coat.
Pile filling evenly into prepared crust and bake until crust is golden brown and plums are juicy and browned in places, 40 to 50 minutes. The juices may bubble over, so you might want to place a sheet pan on the rack below to catch the juices.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Inspired by a recipe in Jewish Holiday Kitchen by Joan Nathan (Schocken, 1979, 1988).
© 2014, Amelia Saltsman.