Gardening has always been a part of who I am. From the time I was little, I was spending time out in the yard with my parents, helping dig little holes to transplant seedlings, or pulling weeds (which was the lowliest garden chore). My parents grew most of the produce we ate during the summer months. Any excess we had was preserved or frozen, and then eaten in the fall, winter, and spring when the growing season in the Pacific northwest slowed down. If there’s any one word that could describe our gardening tactics, it wold be ‘excess’. We have a tendency to plant waaaaaaaay too many plants, and end up with an absurd amount of food. This summer I harvested well over 100 pounds of tomatoes from my garden, because I had about 24 tomato plants for just myself and Jeremy. And because of the hot summer we had, I also ended up with over 100 pounds of watermelon, (which meant many variations of agua fresca). So, when my parents asked if I wanted some plums from their plum tree, I prooooobably should have expected what was to come.
When I left my parents’ house, I ended up carrying two large plastic grocery bags filled to the brim with plums. Not sure exactly what to make with them, I ended up making just about everything. From plum chutney, to vanilla plum jam, to pickled plums. I even caramelized plums in a pan along with onions and then pureed it to make a tangy savory sweet spread, which ended up being ridiculously delicious. And after a day spent preserving plums, in the end I had just a few plums left along with some pluots I’d bought earlier that week. If you’re unfamiliar with pluots, they’re basically a hybrid of plums and apricots (think of it as plums and apricots having a tasty little baby). There are tons of different varieties of them, because there’s many different ways to blend the two. Some varieties are 25% plum and 75% apricot, some are 50/50, and so on. What you end up with, though, its a gorgeous rainbow of colorful stone fruits that have the best characteristics of both plums and apricots combined into one fruit.
So, I had just enough plums and pluots left to make one normal pie. But for a while now I’ve been wanting to make individual pies, since I don’t always want a whole pie sitting around the house when it’s just me and Jeremy, and because if I’m having people over it would be really fun to be able to serve each person their own tiny pie. So I ended up making a few tiny pies to give my recipe a test run, and ended up very happy with the results. The crust was wonderfully flakey and spiced, and the filling was soft, juicy, and incredibly refreshing in the way that only roasted stone fruits can be. I’m sad that all the plums are now gone, but I know what I’ll be making next year once plum season comes ’round again…
First, prepare the crust. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter over the bowl on the largest hole setting, stopping every 10 seconds or so to stir in the grated butter bits so that they don’t form one giant butter shard clump. Add the ice water mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring then kneading, until the dough just comes together. Grab a handful of the dough in your first and then release it. If it generally sticks together when you let go, it is fine. If it completely crumbles apart, it needs another tablespoon or two of water.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. For the filling, toss together the plums, pluots, sugar, flour, and allspice in a large bowl until coated. Set aside.
Remove the small balls of dough from the refrigerator and roll each of them out into a circle. You can either cut a decorative hole out of each of them with a cookie cutter, or you can cut them into a lattice pattern.Evenly distribute the filling between the four pie pans, and place the top sheet of dough or lattice pattern over the top. Seal the edges together with your thumbs and trim off any excess crust hanging over the edge.
Place the pans on a large baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is deeply golden and the fruit filling has wrinkled slightly and is very fragrant. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.