My in-laws' neighbour has a lovely plum tree which gives enough fruit to feed all of Britain with a pie a day for the next millenium, so for the past two years I've helped to relieve everyone of some of the excess. This recipe is the result of the very last bag of these lovelies out of my freezer (next stop: blackberry and apple).
The concept for these mini tarts is one which lends itself to a variety of fillings, so if you've got oodles of frozen fruit from the summer and autumn in your freezer like I do, then go crazy!
If you'd rather make slightly large snack pies, simply use a normal sized cupcake or muffin tin and make slightly larger pastry circles with which to fill them. If you're feeling extra decadent, try topping these large tarts with Angel Food's vegan merginue cookies. Similarly, you can upside to a full scale 9 inch pie.
Mini Plum Pie Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 175 C.
- On a slightly floured surface roll the pastry to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Use a two inch round pastry or cookie cutter to cut out rounds and fit these into the 12 cups of a mini muffin tin. Make sure to push into the sides as much as possible. Prick the bottoms 3 or 4 times with a fork and cover with cling film. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to make plum purée, simply cook plums (you can even include the pits) in a saucepan until soft and runny. Sieve skins and pits out by using a mesh strainer. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the plum purée, sugar and spices for about 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved.
- Mix the cornstarch and water in a separate container and while continuously whisking the plum mixture, slowly add the cornstarch liquid. Continue to whisk until quite stiff and set aside to cool for around 15-20 minutes. You can bake the pastry cases during this time.
- Cut enough 1x3 inch strips of parchment wax paper for each pie, and place in each pastry case (the length makes it easy to pull them off once they come out of the oven) and fill with enough dried beans or ceramic baking beans to come to the top of the case. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove the paper and beans and bake again for a further 10 minutes, or until the pastry is just beginning to brown lightly around the edges. This blind baking step is important, so as much a pain as it seems it's really not that bad. Set aside on a cooling rack for half an hour.
- Pipe or spoon into pastry cases and sprinkle with icing sugar just before serving if desired (it looks pretty).