Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without pie. Time to pull out the butter puff pastry and whip up a quickie handcrafted plum tart. (RECIPE)
QUICK & DELISH | Though no one seems to know exactly where the American phrase “easy as pie” originated, it appears to have nothing to do with actually making pie—unless you’re making a rustic pie like the one pictured here, which, with minimal practice, really can be oven ready in minutes.
Easy-peasy rustic is the only kind of pie I make, and I always make it for Thanksgiving because if ever a holiday meal cried out for pie, it’s this one. While I have been known to fork out dough for shop-wrought pumpkin in pastry, I avoid buying fruit-filled pies because I like the made-by-hand look and the taste of my own decently priced (artisanal pie is always expensive) versions better.
The secret to my rustic pie is store-bought puff pastry made with butter. When I really want to butter it up, I use one of two house brands: Gourmet Warehouse all-butter puff ($5.99 for 450g) or Whole Foods all-butter puff made with whole wheat and soy flour ($7.99 for 500g). Usually, though, I work with President’s Choice butter puff pastry ($3.99 for one 450g package; $3.50 each if your buy two), as do many serious cooks I know. Made with a combination of butter and vegetable shortening, it comes rolled out and wrapped in parchment paper that I can reuse to line my baking sheet. —C. Rule
My Plum Rustic Pie
(makes 2 pies, serves up to 12)
2 sheets butter puff pastry, thawed but cold
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp granulated sugar
24+ Italian prune plums, pitted and cut in eighths lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll both puff pastries onto a clean work surface. Use the parchment paper they were wrapped in to line 2 cookie sheets. Place each pastry sheet on top of the parchment, then coat it with some of the melted butter and a sprinkle of sugar.
In a bowl, stir together plums, remaining butter, ginger, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Mound the plum mixture in the centre of each pastry sheet, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around. Pull the pastry border up and over the outer edge of the plums, leaving plums at the centre bare and pleating the pastry as you pull it up.
Using a pastry brush, brush the pleated portion of each pastry with beaten egg yolk, then sprinkle the remaining sugar all around the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the plums are tender. Let stand for five minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.