Little Jack Horner was not my inspiration for this, instead it was a lovely surprise from friends. The Philosopher and I met friends for breakfast one morning and on our way I received a text message asking if we would eat plums. They were kind enough to bring us a portion of their fruit CSA share-which turned out to be a huge bag of plums! We ate a few fresh for breakfast and snacks, but I quickly realized I would need to take more drastic measures if I was going to use them all before going bad. Here’s the recipe:
1 1/2 sticks butter (cold, cut into small pieces)
2 1/4 c flour
1 t salt
2-3 T ice water
Put flour and salt in food processor and add pieces of butter. Pulse until pea-sized pieces form. Pulse in iced water one tablespoon at a time. When the dough begins to stick together in a large ball, stop pulsing. Do not over process. Remove, pat into ball and flatten slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour. This can be chilled longer, or frozen and used later, if desired.
I should stop here and tell you. These are the directions. I opted to ignore these. You should not. I decided that my food processor would be a pain to wash. I thought using my super awesome blender was a good idea. I was wrong. My crust was ok, but I definitely fell in the category of over processed dough. Also, when I rolled it out, it tended to crumble in some areas. Overall, not my best pie crust. The good news? It was still better than that talking dough-thing makes 🙂
After the dough has chilled, divide into two and roll out into two circles large enough to fill your pie pan. Place one in the pan and prick with a fork. Then add your plums. I sliced and pitted enough plums to fill the pie pan. I am not sure how many, but just keep slicing until you think it looks about right. You really can’t mess this up too badly. I then took the plums out and put them in a bowl. I added a about 2 T corn starch and sugar to taste. The corn starch will help the juices of the plums to thicken, hopefully keeping your crust from becoming a soggy mess. I also added a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Throw the plums back in the pan and cover with the rest of the crust. Make sure you cut vents in the top for steam to escape. Brush the top with an egg wash (one egg beaten with 2 t of water) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375F for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
So, since my crust was a little crumbly, I had to make a few changes. Thankfully, I own small leaf-shaped cookie cutters. I rolled out the dough and cut out the shapes and used them to cover the plums. I then added the egg wash and sugar. The leaves ended up looking a little more like stars, but it had no effect on the length of time it took the two of us to devour our dessert.
I served the pie hot with freshly whipped cream. While my crust may not have seemed perfect, it was flaky and buttery. Which is pretty much all you want out of a pie crust, right?
The best part of this story is how the simple act of kindness from a friend allowed me to pass on the act of kindness to another. The Philosopher and I ate one piece each of pie after I made it. The next night we were spending time on our neighbor’s porch. This summer we have gotten to know most of the people who live around us and have really begun to enjoy evenings spent together. We grab a glass of wine and find ourselves laughing and enjoying the soft breeze while the sounds of dogs barking and children giggling fill the darkness around us. On this evening, I brought over the pie and was able to engage in the communal act of sharing the autumn harvest because of the kindness of our friends. That’s a little bit of kitchen karma.