September 29, 2009

Apple-plum pie

As the weather turns cooler and the days get shorter, I welcome my favorite season and crave being in the kitchen with the stove on. I love baking even more than usual when the fruits of late summer-early Fall beckon me to create gorgeous fruit-filled pies, cakes and tarts. Now plums are on their way out, and apples and pears are just starting to appear at the farmer's markets.

Fortunately for me, there seems to always be an excuse to bake something. Like the backyard party we went to recently to which I took two homemade apple-plum pies.

I am always trying new recipes, especially for pie crust. This one is from Dorie Greenspan, a true expert on all things baked. Hers is for an old-fashioned mixed-apple pie. I tweaked it to include the plums and and left out a couple of things hers included in the filling, like tapioca and raisins, mainly because I didn't have them.
I think the 1/3 cup of vegetable shortening in the crust is what makes it "old-fashioned." You could leave it out, but it really does give an extra flakiness to the pie crust.

Everyone loved it at the party. It was a great complement to the end of summer fare the hosts provided for the last BBQ of the season, things like corn and bean salad, hot dogs and burgers, potato salad and beer.

I would serve this pie just as it is, with a small dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Apple-plum pie (adapted from Dorie Greenspan, in bon appetit, Oct. 2009)

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup solid veg. shortening, chilled (optional)
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

1 1/4 lbs of apples (peeled, cored and cut into wedges)
1 lb plums, sliced into wedges
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup golden or dark raisins (optional)
21/2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tblsp. raw (turbinado) sugar (optional- for sprinkling on top)

Make dough using the food processor method (dries first, then add butter + shortening by cutting in and pulsing until it looks like cornmeal; then add ice water and blend until moist clumps form, adding more ice water if dough is dry). Gather dough into ball and divide in half. Flatten each disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Butter 9-in pie dish. Roll out dough onto floured surface to 12-in round. Transfer to pie dish pressing down on sides and bottom, allowing overhang to extend over sides. Roll out second piece (for top) and chill both on baking sheet while preparing filling.

Preheat oven to 425. Combine apple and plums wedges, 1/3 cup sugar, raisins, tapioca, lemon peel, salt and nutmeg in bowl. Toss to coat fruit and let stand about 15 min.
Transfer filling to crust, mounding slightly in center. Dot filling with butter cubes. Brush edges lightly with water. Transfer second dough round atop filling; trim overhang, press edges together, then fold under. Using tines of fork, press on crust edge around rim of dish to seal. Cut some 1-inch slits with a sharp knife in top crust to allow steam to escape. Brush top lightly with milk or water and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake pie 15 min at 425. Reduce oven to 375 and continue to bake until crust is golden, apples are tender and juices are bubbling over, about 50 min. longer. Let cool to lukewarm or room temperature and serve.

For more fall recipes, see this pretty apple cake, or this post with some of my Fall favorites: chard gratin, moroccan sweet potatoes and farro with chickpeas and butternut squash.

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