Preheat oven to 350 degrees
(Yields 2 six inch pies)
Plum & Blackberry Filling
7-8 large, ripe plums, skinned, halved and seeded
2 cups blackberries (about)
1 cup sugar + ½ cup
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup lemon juice + 1 tablespoon
4 tablespoons berry jam
2-3 Cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoons cinnamon, divided into ½ teaspoons each
¼ cup half-and-half, plus more as needed
¼ cup of cornstarch, divided in half
Sweet Dough – Hand Method
2 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup ice water, plus more as needed
Peel plums and set aside in a bowl with ¼ cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Wash blackberries and set aside to drain. Put remaining cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water into an uncovered sauté pan over medium heat and stir to dissolve. As it starts to boil, add in berry jam. Put plums into mixture and add in the lemon juice and cinnamon sticks. Simmer over medium heat for about five minutes and then toss in the blackberries. The sugar mixture should thicken. Spoon some of the sugar mixture over the blackberries. Remove from heat to cool.
Sweet dough Instructions:
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Put chunks of butter into the flour mixture and rub through your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Add beaten egg to ice water and slowly add this mixture to flour mixture stopping to squeeze dough in your hand to see if it comes together. (see tip below)
Divide into two flat disks and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill for at least one hour or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. When ready to use, unwrap one disk and place on lightly floured pastry board or table. Roll out to 6” diameter circle about ¼” in height. Place circle on an ungreased cookie sheet or line with silpat.
Tip: Adding the water is an important step. Pastry dough always requires a slightly different amount of water. The dough should hold together but not feel wet. It should also not feel dry.
Place plums in middle of pastry. If you are using blackberries, toss them around plums. Sprinkle cornstarch, ¼ c of sugar, and cinnamon. Fold over edges of pastry to form a free-form, round pie, leaving center open. Brush crusts with half-and-half and sprinkle sugar over. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until top crust is golden brown. Reserve the berry and sugar mixture from pan for a topping.
Tip: Remember to bake your pies in bottom third of oven to get the bottom browned and done.