“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald,
I think of myself as someone who has a decent collection of spices. I’ve collected a taste for aromas from all over the world during my travels. I always use different spices when cooking savoury meals. But when it comes to sweet dishes I somehow go back to the same spices again and again. No matter if I make apple pie, pumpkin porridge or a smoothie bowl, chances are high I either use cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla or a combination of these three. As I recently decided that I want to get better at cooking and baking, I also unintentionally made the decision that I needed to experiment with different flavour a little bit more.
Understanding how ingredients, spices and herbs work together is quintessentially understanding how to cook better. There was a time when I basically had the same for dinner every single day. I would roast some seasonal veggies, add some Italian herbs and most of the time tomato sauce. I would then serve it with different grains. At that time (luckily already a few years ago) I thought I was super creative in the kitchen because I used different veggies and grains. Ha! I’d still appreciate foreign flavours but that was something I only had when I ate outside. At home it was always the same kind of taste.
I think when I finally realised that I started my phase of buying way to many spice mixes ranging from Indian to Thai to Mexican and even Apple Pie. And now guess what I continued doing. I bought my seasonal veggies again and instead of using Italian herbs I used my new spice mixes. Fast forward a few years and I have learned a lot about food, ingredients and flavours. So when I decided to bake a plum pie (because it’s plum season and the weather is finally crisp enough for pie) and wasn’t in the mood for yet again another cinnamon flavoured fruit pie, I did something I should do more often. I looked up spices, ingredients and flavours that go well with plums.
Apparently honey and back pepper are two ingredients that taste great paired with plums. And so is hazelnut among a few others. Funnily, while browsing my favorite cookbook lately I realised that these also have a few plum and black pepper or plum and hazelnut recipes in there. One short note on the pie crust and then the honey.
The pie crust was inspired by the Flaky Pie Crust by Little Sweet Baker, the easiest and best pie crust I ever made, without any chilling or overcomplicated steps. It works great for savoury and sweet recipes and it’s vegan. The honey is from a local bee keeper in Dorset. It is very flavourful and adds not only sweetness but a very delicious aroma to the pie. If you use honey, use one from a sustainable and ethical bee keeper. Most commercial brands from the super market only taste sweet and in my opinion are not worth buying them. If you don’t want to use honey, use organic coloured agave syrup. It has a similar to honey.
Plum Pie with Honey and Black Pepper
- 1.5 cups / 180 g wheat flour
- 90 ml / 6 tbsp coconut or grape seed oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 40 ml / 3 tbsp mylk (I used homemade almond mylk)
- 10 plums, halved and pitted
- 1 tbsp local and good quality honey or coloured agave nectar for vegans
- a pinch of freshly ground black pepper (2-3 grinds of pepper)
- Preheat oven to 190 °C / 375 °F.
- Sift flour (this is an important step to get the best result), mix with salt and make a little well.
- Pour in mylk and oil and stir everything together with a fork. If the dough is too dry, add one or two tablespoons of mylk.
- Form dough into a ball and place it on a sheet of wax paper.
- Roll the dough out between two sheets of wax papers to fit your 23 cm/ 9 inch pie plate.
- Place crust in pie plate and fit gently into button and side of plate and form a rim if you like.
- In a medium bowl, gently mix plums with honey and black pepper and fill pie plate with plums.
- Bake for 45 min or until crust is golden brown and the plum filling is bubbling.
- Service with icecream or coconut whip.