There's a new kid in town, and by kid in town, I mean almost 12 week old maniac puppy in my house. I posted on instagram yesterday that he was 10 weeks old, but when we actually sat down with a calendar this morning we realized he was 12 weeks, not even close to 10.
We have been in a weird time vacuum this summer- busy and traveling at first, and now trying to settle back into a new routine and trying to teach this puppy to sleep in his new home and be a good citizen. NYC is a loud smelly place and our sweet pup is learning to love it more and more everyday, even if it is overwhelming - a 20 minute hang on the stoop is stimulating enough to send him straight to a 2 hour nap. Me too pup, me too. This city is tiring.
Some friends of ours, I've mentioned a couple of times, decamped Brooklyn for the Pacific Northwest and moved to a house with a hearty rhubarb plant, alongside an Italian plum, and hazelnut tree. Pete joked that their new yard makes it's own trailmix, a very Northwestern ideal.
Apparently that plum tree is an excellent producer of the most beautiful deep-blue purple plums with orangey centers, and our generous pal sent me a box full that I sadly haven't had much time to play with because of aforementioned pup that requires hourly monitoring...But yesterday I said enough is enough - I need to bake something with these plums! As I sliced them open I smiled at the perfectly contrasting colors and was so happy to be hanging in the kitchen with a peacefully snoozing pup in the other room.
It was a bit slap-dash as all of my pies are these days. I use my new fave easiest pie crust ever, but swapped in 1/2 rye flour for the all purpose, and employed my general prefered fruit pie formula - adjusted it a bit to suit the fruit.
Italian Plum Pie
makes one, 9-inch pie
Plum pie is my very favorite summer-to-fall transitional treat. Italian plums are so perfectly suited to cooking and baking that I can't resist them at the market everytime I go. They pair well with both bright citrusy flavors and deeper toastier ones like whole grain flours and warm spices like cinnamon. In a moment of Four and Twenty Blackbirds inspiration, I shook a bottle of cardamom bitters into the filling which ended up being a totally delicious move, which I highly recommend if you happen to keep a bottle in your bar. If not, a bit of ground cardamom is great too.
2 1/2 times Easiest Pie Crust Ever, split into two discs (sub 1/2 of the all purpose flour for rye)
2 lbs (900g) Italian plums
1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (30g) flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
5 shakes/dashes cardamom bitters or 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Preheat the oven to 400º F and place a rack in the bottom of the oven. In a large bowl combine the sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Use your fingers to rub the and seeds into the sugar until well combined and fragrant. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, and salt.
Pit and cut the plums into quarters. Add them to the bowl but don't stir quite yet.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough into a roughly 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick and place it into a 9-inch pie pan. Place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the pie. Roll out the other piece of dough into a roughly 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick.
Add the bitters to the filling, then gently stir the filling ingredients together. Fill the pie shell, press gently to compact the fruit, and top with the second crust.
Trim the edges so they are even, then crimp them together. Alternately, cut the second crust into 1 1/2 to 2-inch strips and weave a lattice top.
Slide the whole pie into the fridge or freezer for about 15 minutes or until the crust is very firm. When you are ready to bake, carefully and gently brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a healthy dose of coarse sugar.
Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the crust is deep golden brown and the juices bubble. Cool before slicing.