There are so many things to love about this pie that I don’t even know where to begin. Perfect pastry? Naturally. A gooey, nutty heavenly cream hidden inside, called something as intriguing and promising as Frangipane? YES. A sticky, tangy, shocking purple coating of plum? Check.
Also, it’s so effing autumnally and comforting you just wanna curl up and use it as a blanket. Seriously, an evening with this pie + pitch black outside + rain against the window + a couple of episode of Looking/The Honourable Woman/The Mindy Project (season 3 – yeah!)/Louie/River Cottage = perfect life. Summer: you’re free to go.
Wait, before you run off looking for a plum tree, I must give you a few more words on Frangipane. Frangipane will MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER. It’s part of a fine old Italian, then French, baking tradition (dating back to 1226 according to some, read Wikipedia). It’s made out of egg, butter, sugar and ground almonds. And you can use it in, like, everything. Like, all over the place. In cakes, cookies and croissants. Think of it as a melted and golden version of marzipan. A rule of thumb is: since it’s so gooey it normally needs a host. Or does it now…?
For this recipe I’ve used a mix of almonds and hazelnuts, which, yes, granted, might upset the Italians and the French but that’s a risk I’m willing to take, considering the result. Sweet-gooey hazelnut with sour-sticky plum, you see what I’m saying, right?
Wait, there’s more to it. The plums. The way we prepare it. Before we put them on the cake, we boil them in a sauce pan, reducing the liquid to get this deep, compact plum flavor that will make you think of stuff like autumn harvest, fruit so ripe it falls of the tree, jam cooking on the stove, falling leaves, filled up earth cellars, etc.
- 200 g / 1 cup / 2,4 dl plain flour
- 1 heaped tbsp icing sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 120 g / 1 stick of cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 egg yolk
- About 50 ml/ a scant ¼ cup of cold water
- 100 g / a scant ½ cup of butter
- 100 g / ½ cup of golden caster sugar
- 1 scant dl / 50 g / a heaped ⅓ cup of ground hazelnuts
- 1 scant dl / 50 g / a heaped ⅓ cup of ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- Start with the pastry. Put flour, icing sugar and salt into a food processor and blitz briefly to combine. Add the butter and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (You can also make the pastry by hand, rubbing the butter into the flour and icing sugar using your fingertips.) Add the egg yolk and enough water to bind, pulsing or mixing just enough to bring the dough together in large clumps. Tip out on to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes,
- Chop up your plums roughly. Put a knob of butter in a saucepan. Boil the plums gently for 5 minutes. Taste. Add a tsp to a tbsp of sugar, depending on how acidic your plums are. You want it to be sour but not ”scrunch up your face”-sour. Boil for another 10 minutes until the plums has dissolved and taken on a sort of runny, jammy texture.
- Now, beat together the butter and sugar for the Frangipane. Once light and fluffy beat in the eggs one at a time. Once incorporated fold in the ground almonds.
- On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a rough circle, 2-3 mm thick and about 35 cm in diameter. Lift it on the baking sheet. Spoon the Frangipane mix into the middle and spread out in an even layer until about 3 cm from the edges. Then fold the pastry border inwards over the edge of the Frangipane.
- Prebake the pie for 10 minutes, in the lower half of the oven.
- Let the pie sit for a few minutes, to cool off just a bit. If you need to, you can prickle/scrape/dent the Frangipane-part of the pie to help make room for the plum sauce.
- Pour the plum sauce over the Frangipane-part and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool slightly and serve with ice cream or cream.