I Spy Plum Pie

Plum Pie with Foolproof Crust

Is there anything more wholesome than pie? The very word brings a smile to one’s face, and it’s associated with all sorts of pleasant things — someone who is sweet as pie (or a sweetie pie) may wish for their pie in the sky which may be easy as pie to get or as American as apple pie. In the eternal debate that rages between cake and pie, pie is eternally the winner, being both less serious and less frivolous than that cake frippery. Liking pie is almost a moral imperative. And yet … I don’t. Or at least I didn’t.

The problem with pie is nearly always in the crust. Crusts in pies that aren’t homemade is nearly always somewhat tough because it has to stand up to storage and handling. And homemade is hard. Those premade pie crusts have a funny taste or a greasy mouthfeel (though I will recommend Trader Joe’s brand frozen pie crusts in a pinch). And making it from scratch is just fraught — there’s all that nonsense about cold hands and whether to rub in the fat or cut it in or use a food processor or NEVER USE A FOOD PROCESSOR or only use lard or only use crisco and the whole thing is so nervewracking that your hands are sweating buckets and OH NO YOU’VE JUST RUINED YOUR PIE CRUST. IT WILL NEVER BE TENDER AND FLAKY AGAIN. Or if by some miracle you manage to make a pie crust that has flaky possibilities then you have to roll it out, and it cracks and sticks and then you have to worry about patching holes because IF YOU HANDLE IT TOO MUCH YOU WILL HAVE RUINED YOUR PIE CRUST AND IT WILL NEVER BE TENDER AND FLAKY AGAIN.

No thanks, I’ll just sit over in this corner with my cake, thank you very much.

However, because I love my faithful readers so much (and especially those faithful readers who are still reading despite my somewhat sporadic posting schedule of late — I have no excuse other than lack of inspiration, so if you see my muse can you send her over?) I will give you the recipe for my super secret foolproof crust. It is always tender, it is always flaky, you can handle it as much as you want, and oh, by the way — it’s a dream to roll out. Practically elastic. The only problem is that this crust, not being a commercial crust, does not hold up particularly well to handling and storage. It does, in fact, get a wee bit soggy. Plan on baking this pie crust as close as possible to when you plan to eat this pie crust. At least if you have a luscious, juicy, fruit filling.

Ah yes, the fruit filling. Well, I have seen apple pies galore, and cherry pies, and peach pies, blueberry pies, and gooseberry pies. I have seen pumpkin pies and coconut cream pies and custard pies and mincemeat pies. But the only place I have seen a plum pie is in the pages of one of my daughter’s favorite books, which I bought for her because it was a favorite of my childhood as well. It is called “Each Peach Pear Plum”. You should read it. It’s wonderful. Because I am of both a contrary and a literary bent, I decided to bring to life the plum pie from the pages of this wonderful book.

foolproof easy pie crust

And here’s the thing: plum pie is wonderful. The plums are lovely and tart with a delightful flavorful tang. My husband described the pie as a cross between rhubarb and cherry but better than either. This is now his favorite dessert. And he, like all right-thinking folks, is a pie-lover. It’s also beautiful, with a lovely pinky-red color from the plum skins (don’t skin your plums, because one, it is a pain, and two, they will be mush).

So there you have it. Perfectly pleasing pie, easy to execute. Or as easy as pie can be. Which is, if you believe the sayings, very easy indeed.

Plum Pie in a Sour Cream Crust
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
For the crust:
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) (8 oz.) softened butter
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 egg white
  • sugar
For the filling:
  • 2 lbs plums, pits removed and sliced (do this over a bowl so you can catch the juice)
  • 1 c. sugar (more or less, depending on sweetness of plums)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ c. cornstarch
Make the dough:
  1. Mix butter and sour cream into flour until thoroughly blended. Form into two discs and chill overnight or until firm.
To make filling:
  1. Combine all filling ingredients. Toss until combined.
To assemble pie:
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Roll out one disc of chilled dough on a floured surface (for rolling out instructions, see here but you don't really need to use the parchment paper with this dough) to about ¼ inch thick, and line 9" pie pan with the crust. Brush inside of pie crust with beaten egg white.
  3. Roll out second disc, cut into strips to make a lattice. Fill the pie with the filling (see below), and arrange the strips to form a lattice. Roll edges to form a rim, pinch together, brush the top with egg white, sprinkle sugar over the crust and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.
  4. Update! Upon making again, I found that this pie works best if a) you roll the dough on the thick side (1/4 inch or so); b) you brush the bottom crust with egg white before adding the plums and c) you bake with a lattice top.


15 comments to I Spy Plum Pie

  • Mary Arulanantham

    Wow! Sour cream in pie crust–who’d a thunk it? I’ll definitely give it a try. (My pie crust is the tried and true 1 part Crisco and 2 parts flour, salt and enough cold milk to hold it together. Usually flaky, but not tender.)

  • Our plum tree went wild this year. I have tons of plums to use. Thanks for the recipe. The pie looks wonderful!

  • OMG>. this looks perfect!

  • OMG, that plum pie looks marvelous! A real delight!



  • Maya

    i’m going to try this! i hate making pie crust for all the reasons you mentioned. when you say it doesn’t handle well, does it all have to be eaten that night? or will it be tasty the next day?

    also, what do you think of using pluots? i have a bunch from the farmers market.

  • Pie crusts and I have a rocky relationship, so I’m bookmarking this recipe right now. It’s really foolproof? If so, I may build a pie crust shrine in your honor.

  • Audra

    Pie crust is the last bastion of unconquered food in my kitchen. (Also, live lobsters, but I don’t see a real pressing need to master that particular skill.) Your reasons are my reasons, therefore your pie crust shall be my pie crust. I have a few peaches that need baking, we’ll see how things turn out.

  • I really like the sound of a plum pie. It looks great!

  • I love making pies and the crust is always the best part. I have to admit this recipe is very different from mine but I am sure going to give it a try. Who would have thought to put sour cream in a pie crust! Thanks for sharing. Beth

  • No! There is nothing more wholesome than pie! If I could do a pie for a wedding cake, I totally would do it. This looks too good for words. You’ve outdone yourself!

  • Tom

    It was so nice meeting you and your family yesterday as well . . . your daughter has cupcakes down pat.

    The Swiss / German restaurant in Westchester does have fondue; it was too hot for it the day I was there:


    Great writing and photos!

  • Katie

    I love this idea! Just got the link to your blog via Facebook. You are awesome! :)

    I make crust with flour, crisco, salt and ice water. It turns out nice and flaky, but is a real pain to get from rolling surface onto pie plate.

  • Pie crusts are very challenging to make, what make it even tougher is trying to accommodate everyone’s preferences. Some like a flakey crust and others like a thicker one… this looks really lovely and perfectly golden though.

  • Sharilyn

    My grandma made me a plum pie every year on my birthday, my favorite, and the only kind of pie I would eat as a child. So great to come across this recipe so that I can make it for myself now that she is gone. Thanks

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