It’s already February and I’ve managed to make three out of my four blog posts about cake. Which isn’t exactly a terrible thing, am I right?! It’s just that I know I needed a change of pace. Last weekend, I came home from being out of town for business meetings and craving the need to bake something. Rummaging through my cabinets and fridge, I found two sandwich bags of plums and pluots I had frozen from a few months back. Success!! I knew exactly what I was going to make: a super delicious pie with a whole wheat crust. The recipe for the whole wheat crust comes from the NY Times (which always has the best recipes! I’ve been loving their stuff lately). I’ve never worked with a whole wheat crust before, I felt like I was cheating on my lover. Maybe it’s not THAT dramatic, but you get my gist.
So last Saturday I made this pie. Jason came over again to photograph with me and do an interview for my university's yearbook. Oh yeah, fun fact I haven’t mentioned yet: I’m going to be a feature in the Warbler (my school's name for the yearbook). I’m super excited! I’ll be sure to share a photo or two of the finished piece when it’s finally published. Anywho, so we made a pie, talked photography, and just hung out. It was a lot of fun. I got to try out my new tripod with a lateral arm, and I have to say I’m officially obsessed. It makes styling SO much easier. I’m in love. Manfrotto, if you ever need a spokesperson, I’m your guy!
Developing this pie was a journey, let me just say that. The original recipe said to wait at least two hours for the dough to set, but I didn’t do that because I got impatient, so I took it out after one hour. The issue was that gluten in the flour hadn’t had time to fully rest and recuperate, so when I went to roll out the dough, it was slightly crumbly and a bit brittle. It worked, though, and tasted great! I would suggest following the rules and leaving the dough to rest for the amount of time it says to do so. Then I was an idiot and squeezed half a lemon into the pie filling, making it just slightly too tart for enjoyment. So I adjusted the recipe accordingly so you won't have any of the problems I had. All in all, it was a pretty dang good pie. The plums worked so well with the brandy and balsamic. The crust was warm, flaky, and buttery. Taking the pie out of the oven, you get this beautiful golden brown finish that is just stunning. The whole wheat flour does incredible things, people!
Balsamic Plum & Pluot Whole Wheat Lattice Pie
Original crust recipe from the NY Times
For the crust
1 1/8 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, cubed and chilled
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
6-8 tablespoons ice cold water
For the filling
4 cups mixture of plums & pluots
¾ cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brandy
½ tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the egg wash
1 egg + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
For the filling. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the plums, pluots, sugar, flour, brandy, lemon juice, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar, vanilla, and ground cinnamon. Mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight for the flavors to marinade and deepen.
For the pie. In a large mixing bowl or food processor, whisk together the flours, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Toss in the cubed butter and pulse or cut with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the cold water and mix (or pulse) until the dough begins to form together into one mass. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and work it until the dough is smooth and has come together uniformly. Divide the dough into two balls, flatten into a 1-inch disc, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Assembly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9” pie pan with butter and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough disks to a 13” round. Transfer it to the prepared pie dish. Lift the edges and allow the dough to slump down into the dish.
Take the plum filling out of the refrigerator and drain the reserved liquid into a small saucepan. Bring reserve liquid to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce reduces by half, about 4 minutes. Pour reduced sauce over the plums. Add the filling with accumulated juices into the prepared dish. Roll out the second dough dish and place it over the top of the pie or cut into 1” strips and lattice top the pie.
Brush with egg wash, sprinkle a few pinches of granulated sugar over the crust, cover the crust edges with pie guards and bake for around 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (for at least 4 hours for the juices to set).