Port and Plum Crostata
This delicious pie comes with a medium to long story that begins at the soon-to-be closing Borders on Broad and Chestnut, where I raided the cookbook aisle and nabbed Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts at a decent 30% off price. I returned to work and began flipping through this photo-filled compendium of every pie, tart, galette and crostada from sweet to savory, and felt the immediate urge to bake. I decided that Friday would be the day, and I’d be making Martha’s Plum and Port Crostata.
So, Friday night, all ingredients ready to go, I awaited the arrival of my buddy Jen, so we could get baking. I’d prepared the dough the night ahead (the recipe calls for a half recipe, but I did the full, yielding enough for two pies), which took a load off our prep time and allowed for it to get nice and chilled. Let me tell you, this dough alone tastes delicious and was quite easy to make. Way to go, Martha! Getting excited to go pick up some burritos before we bake, I get a text from Jen saying she had to bail because her poor doggie was sick… sadface! Alas, I began simmering the port wine and slicing my plums alone. However, 30 minutes into cooking I realized my oven still hadn’t warmed up! My avocado-hued, circa 1970s oven was dunzo. What’s a foodie mid-pie to do?? On the verge of throwing things or maybe just drinking the entire bottle of Port, I texted Jen my rant and decided to package everything up and hop a cab across town to finish baking at her place! I felt a bit like a lunatic, but in the end was so glad that we ended up still getting to bake together and both of us got to have a whole, mouthwatering pie to ourselves. Not to mention, while the pies bubbled away in her oven, we played a few rounds of Just Dance on the Wii!
So in the end, I dub this pie, the Little (but with big flavor!) Pie That Could, because boy was I determined to make sure this confection made its way into my life, belly and blog.
This is a classic pie or tart pastry dough, literally meaning “broken pastry,” referring to cutting the butter into the flour. Its quite simple to make and the small additions of salt and sugar give it a great flavor. Make this an hour ahead to give it time to properly chill, or freeze it if you want to make it even more in advance. The pie in this post only requires a half-portion of this recipe, but you may as well make the whole thing and pop the other dough ball in the freezer for another day!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
Plum and Port Crostata
This recipe recommends using Italian prune plums, however the Reading Terminal Market didn’t have any so we ended up using regular plums. This still turned out fabulous and they weren’t very difficult to pit and slice anyway. Just half them like you would an avocado, and slice each half into quarters. The pit should fall out easily.
- ½ recipe Pate Brisee
- 1 1/2 cups ruby port
- 1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 Thai chile, seeded and minced (optional)
- 2 pounds Italian prune plums, halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon heavy cream, for brushing
- Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Fit into an 8-inch pie dish, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Freeze for up to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Simmer port and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add chile if desired. Cover, and let cool for 10 minutes.
Stir together remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar and teaspoon salt, the plums, cornstarch, cinnamon, and port syrup. Transfer to pie shell. Fold in overhang to form a crust; brush crust with cream, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 30 minutes; reduce oven to 375 degrees. Bake until golden and center is bubbling, about 1 1/2 hours more. Let cool.
Sidenote: If you noticed I now have a new badge on the right side of my blog, its because I’ve been selected as a “Foodista Featured Blogger of The Day” for April 28th. This is so exciting and such an honor, so keep an eye out for Allison Eats on Foodista’s homepage on that day!