In Season: Plums and Plum Custard Pie

We have been visiting our local nursing home once a week and helping with manicures. We pass a plum tree on the edge of the parking lot every time we enter the building. Each time we check the plums for ripeness. This year they were just beautiful despite the drought.

A week or so ago, we asked for and received  permission to pick them. They were small but perfect, rose and violet purple with a cloudy lavender bloom and cracking a little because of a recent heavy rain. The secretary gave us an empty envelope box, and we filled it with the plums we picked from the tree’s lower branches. They smelled good, looked good, and were perfectly ripe for our purposes. We whisked them home to make plum custard pie!

I started by making a pie shell using my Grandmother’s recipe. This recipe is for a double crust, either double the custard recipe and make two pies, or roll the second crust into a flattened disk, wrap, and freeze for later use:

Pastry

2 ¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup shortening (or butter or lard)

2 tablespoons of  extra shortening

1/3 cup ice water

  1. Combine flour and salt.
  2. Cut larger amount of shortening into flour with a pastry blender until  the mixture has the consistency of a little rougher than cornmeal.
  3. Cut in smaller amount of shortening and leave in pea-size pieces (makes the crust extra flakey).
  4. Drizzle water over flour, salt, and shortening mixture.
  5. Blend with a fork only until mixture begins to clump and most of the flour mixture in combined with the shortening and water. Don’t over work or you will have tough pastry.
  6. Turn clumpy mixture onto counter and gently gather together into a ball.
  7. Divide dough in half. 
  8. Roll out and place in bottom of a pie pan. Trimming or tucking in the excess that falls over the side of the pan.

Fruit and Filling

Plums—cut in half and pit, enough to cover the bottom of the pie crust, cut side up.

Custard

½ cup cream or ½ and ½ (light cream)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

  1. Whisk all ingredients together until combined.
  2. Pour custard over plums in pie pan.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until custard has set.

I was given this recipe and a batch of plums by an older lady that I used to garden for. I learned a lot from her, and one of those things was that homegrown plums were good for something other than making into jam or eating out of hand. The peels of the plums are lemony tart and contrast nicely with the sweet, rich custard and the short, salty pastry. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Begonia

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