Pie R Squared

Sunday, August 30, 2015
Let’s be honest. You didn’t expect another pie on my blog this week, did you?

After last week’s attempt, which admittedly turned into a delicious tart, you probably thought I was done with pies, at least for a while. But it’s fresh fruit season, and as much as I love working with frozen fruit through the winter, there’s nothing like a pie (crisp/crumble/buckle/anything at all, really) made with fresh fruit that makes my heart sing.

A few of my friends told me after last week's post that they struggle with some pastry recipes, and excel with others. I know what they mean, yet it's hard to understand why. A pastry recipe should be a certain combination of flour + fat + liquid, and the result should always be the same, right? Like a math equation that always gives the same answer. 

But it doesn't work that way, and I thought about the one pastry recipe I've actually had success with. What if I tried it again, but with a different filling? Specifically, what if I tried it with the plums I've been seeing in the farmers' markets?


Result: the pastry was a success, and the pie was terrific!

And just like I thought, it all came down to a formula. It's been a while since I've studied math, but if: 

A = awesomeness and 
R = resilience, then 
A = Pie R2

Never give up.

(Next week's post: solving E = mc2, when E is eggplant and mc is manchego cheese. I don't have a recipe yet, but it sounds delicious.)

Plum and Marzipan Crumble Pie
(filling adapted from Eats Well With Others, with this pastry recipe)

Note: This pastry recipe yields two crusts, and you only need one for this pie. Roll out the second crust, put it in the freezer and wrap it well. Now you’re all set the next time you want to make a pie!

For the pastry:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
9 – 12 Tbsp ice water

For the pie dust:

1 tsp sugar
1 tsp flour

For the filling:

2 pounds plums, pitted and cut into 1/2” thick slices
3/4 cups sugar (first amount)
1/2 cup sugar (second amount)
6 Tbsp cornstarch
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp sugar (third amount)

For the marzipan crumble:

10 ounces almond paste
1/3 cup almond flour
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced
2 Tbsp sugar

To make the pastry:

Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 3 Tbsp sugar, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter and shortening until they are the size of peanuts. Stir in ice water 3 Tbsp at a time (dough shouldn’t be sticky). Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes before using.

On lightly floured surface, roll half the dough into a 12” circle about 1/8” thick. Transfer to a 9” plate. (Since this recipe yields two crusts, do the same with the second half of the dough. You can put it in the freezer, well-wrapped, until the next time you make a single-crust pie.)

To make the pie:

Combine 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp flour in a small bowl for the pie dust. Set aside.

Put half the plums and 3/4 cup sugar into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit is bubbly and has released much of its juices, about 10 minutes.

Stir the raw plum slices into the cooked plums. Stir in another 1/2 cup sugar. Stir in the cornstarch and let cool to room temperature.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle the bottom of the crust with the pie dust. You probably won’t need all of it – you just want enough to barely coat the bottom, to keep the crust from getting soggy from the fruit.

Place the plums in a colander over a medium bowl. Place the drained plums into the crust, and pour the liquid filling over top. Brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle 1 tsp sugar over the whole pie.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.

In the meantime, make the marzipan crumble. Combine the almond paste and almond flour in a bowl and cut together until marzipan is in small pieces. Add the butter and sugar, and continue cutting together until almond paste and butter are in pea-sized pieces.

After 30 minutes, remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle the marzipan crumble over the top. Bake for an additional 35 – 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden and crunchy and the filling is bubbling. (I covered my pie with foil, and removed it 10 minutes before it was done baking.


Let the pie cool completely before serving.

21 comments:

Liz Berg said...

Oh, yeah, this is definitely a winner! I keep trying new pie crusts when I should just stop when I get one that works instead of hoping there's an even better one out there! I need to check your recipe for my next pie.

Liz Berg said...

LOL---Ok, I see it's IN your recipe. It looks like my standard. The butter and shortening combo seems to work well. Thanks!!

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Oh, yum! And to just further prove that we are frequently on the same blog wavelength, I just finished typing up my next post/recipe for Tuesday -- which includes fresh fruit, almonds, and crumble/streusel topping. Great minds, I tell ya! =)

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi Beth, I love baked plums and almond together, they are a match made in heaven. Good for you trying a pie again.

Katerina said...

I love plums and I don't mind a pie overdose! Looks perfect!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'll confess. I never make pie crusts. I'm not good at it. This looks delicious.

Barbara said...

Is there such a thing as too many pie recipes? I don't think so! Keep them coming, Beth!
This one looks marvelous. Especially with the crumb topping, always perfect with fruit pies.

Angie Schneider said...

This is beyond delicious, Beth. Plum and marzipan must be amazing together.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've never cooked with plums - have to try this out soon!

Monica said...

Love it - that's my kind of equation!

Marcelle said...

Plums are my favorite fruit!! this looks like a fantastic pie!!

Beth said...

Liz, I don't think I could teach you a single thing about pastry. You're a master!

And Amy, I can't wait to read your post tomorrow. That sounds amazing!

Joanne said...

Aww I'm so glad you liked this pie! I do remember that pastry being a little problematic so good idea to switch in one that works for you. Pie crust can really be so random!

grace said...

let it be said that sometimes even pie with a crappy crust is awesome. no worries here though--this one is amazing from top to bottom!

Caroline Taylor said...

This sounds so good and it's the perfect time of year for making pies!

Kitchen Riffs said...

One can never have too much pie! It's a law or something. ;-) This is good -- love what you've done with it. Mrs K R used to make a pie crust really similar to yours, but has substituted leaf lard for the shortening (we store it in the freezer until we need it). Makes a great crust -- something to think about. If you can get over the whole lard thing, of course. ;-) This is great -- thanks.

Pam said...

Great pastry for a great pie! I agree with John above about the crust and lard too. The crumble on this has to be delicious! Thanks for sharing!

Abbe Odenwalder said...

I love pie and am always trying to conquer it. usually it is the other way around. I finally did do a good job and feel so relieved! This also looks and sounds superb! Thanks, Beth!

Laura Dembowski said...

I never bake with frozen fruit, so I'm all for taking advantage of the bounty while it's here. The great thing about pies is that no two are alike, even if you use the same ingredients. Each peach or batch of blueberries or cherries has a different sweetness and moisture content. They are as unique as we are as people. And that is a beautiful thing.

Gloria Baker said...

Your pie look amazing Beth :)

Cathleen said...

Love it! And I hope you do make the eggplant one. It sounds amazing :p

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