single-crust plum and apple pie

Early fall is a ridiculous time to get cooking block. Inspiration is everywhere as nearly everything that could possibly be in season currently is. The markets are flooded with great stuff; summer tomatoes, eggplant, corn and peppers fight for space on tables with apples, pears, greens and winter squash. But somehow — when I’m not playing SuperMom or Good Football Wife or gushing over tiny fall outfits — I’ve been at an impasse. The summer stuff is waning; the last tomatoes I brought home were… rough, to put it nicely. And given that the butternut squash and collards are the last bits of fresh produce we’ll see until asparagus spears pop up in May 2011, seven very long months from now, I’m sure you understand why I put off cooking with them for as long as possible.

prune plums
big yellow apples

So I was spending an unhealthy amount of time contemplating my First World Problem — What should I cook next? — when a reader (Hi, Janet!) sent me a link to Nigel Slater’s single-crust plum pie in The Guardian two weeks ago and, obviously, that was it as plum season is almost over. Slater argues that some fruits are too wet for a double-crusted pie and plums are one of them. To make up for getting stiffed by the absence of a bottom crust, he makes the top crust very thick and, look, these aren’t his words but let’s be frank: It’s a cookie. And it’s awesome.

apples and sad, old prune plums

I also like the way it challenges some pie assumptions; rather than a sweet filling against a practically unsweetened crust, this has a sweet crust and the fruit is a tart contrast. I especially love that it inserts pie into what is often a woefully deficient pie month, in the lull between summer’s double-crusted cherry and berry pies and Thanksgiving’s heavy pumpkins and pecans.

lid dough
shortbread lid, messy as it should be

Oh, and the lid crumbles. As in, it’s supposed to. There’s no way to get a clean slice and you shouldn’t even try. This pie is meant to be scooped indelicately with a large spoon, slopped unceremoniously on a plate, dolloped haphazardly with softly whipped cream and eaten shortly after it comes out of the oven. It’s weekday fare, and the very best kind because really, what’s stopping you from having this after dinner tonight?

cookie-lidded apple and plum pie

One year ago: Lebanese-Style Stuffed Eggplant
Two years ago: Balsamic-Glazed Sweet and Sour Cipollini, Majestic and Moist Honey Cake and Best Challah (Egg Bread)
Three years ago: Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers and Peter Reinhart’s Bagels
Four years ago: Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake and Rustic White Bread

Single-Crust Plum and Apple Pie
Adapted from Nigel Slater

I was at a potluck last weekend where a friend gave me a (jokingly) hard time about the ridiculous number of changes I make to a recipe while still calling it “adapted from”, so this intro is just for her: First, I put all of the measurements in “American”, i.e. cups and spoons so if some of them seem like odd amounts, keep in mind that they were nice round weights to begin with. I made a few adjustments there, too; you can use regular or coarse (turbinado or golden caster sugar, the latter of which I can only say with a terrible faux-British accent) sugar. I added some flaky salt to the crust because it is delightful there, and also a few scrapings of orange zest, because I really like it with plums. I stick the dough in the freezer instead of the fridge because I didn’t want to wait any longer for my pie than I had to.

The filling calls for either prune plums or greengages (greenish-yellow sweet plums), but I could only find the prune plums but the thought all-prune pie made me nervous about its, you know, intensity. Ahem. So I swapped half the plums with apples but I forgot that apples take much longer to bake than plums and had I cut them smaller, this shouldn’t have been an issue. Or I could have stopped fussing and made an all-plum pie. I added a squeeze of orange juice to the filling, again because I like orange against plums, a little less sugar and I mixed the whole thing in the pie dish, because I am lazy. I bet you can hear my friend rolling her eyes all the way on the other side of the internet, huh?

7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup plus 6 1/2 tablespoons (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse or flaky salt (or less of table salt)
Milk or cream, for brushing crust
Coarse or fine sugar, for sprinkling crust
Softly whipped, lightly sweetened cream, for serving

1 pound ripe prune plums or greengages, halved, pitted, and halved again (i.e. quartered)
1 pound apples, peeled, cored and cut into smaller chunks (than you see in my photos)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Squeeze or two of orange or lemon juice

Make the lid: In a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy. Mix in the lightly beaten egg and scrape down sides. Slowly add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat until combined. Scrape dough into a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and stick in the freezer for 10 to 20 minutes, or until firmed up.

Assemble the pie: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C or gas mark 4) Butter a pie or baking dish. Add the fruit and spinkle it with the sugar, cinnamon and orange or lemon juice. Gently toss the ingredients together once or twice; don’t worry, they’ll “muddle” well once cooking in the oven.

Roll out the firmed-up lid dough on a very well floured counter and gently lift it onto the pie and trim the overhang. It will tear. This is fine, and all the better to let juice erupt through. If it flusters you, you can use some of the trimmings to patch it up but still, the pie will bubble through in other places. Brush the crust with milk or cream, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 40 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Scoop onto dishes and serve with whipped cream.

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207 comments on single-crust plum and apple pie

  1. Liz

    I love the way you describe food. Each dish has strengths and weaknesses. A crowd it should hang out with — a clique where it belongs and places where it can push boundaries. And the quirks are what what makes it individual, wonderful, and perfectly imperfect. I don’t much care for plums, but I’d eat this pie just from your words alone. :-)

  2. Jess

    This pie is quite intriguing – the picture makes me think cobbler, but that tender crust is all pie. It’s a cobbler-pie hybrid – amazing!

  3. While I would disagree with Mr. Slater — double crust plum pie is well loved in our household — this looks like a worthy addition to the repertoire — almost not a pie though — I’m sure there’s some charming old fashioned name for fruit with a cookie crust, like a grunkle. This looks like an excellent grunkle.

  4. sw

    Everybody should read the source article, if only for the place where Nigel Slater says, very calmly, “Each year I race to get to those blackberries before the feast of Michaelmas, when the devil is said to piss on them.”

    Nice-looking pie, too!

  5. Katherine

    Have you ever thought about making biscuits and gravy? I have had the worst time finding the best biscuits and gravy recipe and that is all I have been thinking about. Which of your biscuits do you think would be the best for that recipe?

    1. deb

      Kate — Grunkle it is! Love it.

      sw — Indeed.

      Katherine — I have thought about it many times. But, to make gravy, you need pan drippings, right? And to make pan drippings, you need a roast of some sort? And that’s where it flummoxes me as a stand-alone recipe.

  6. Tonia

    This looks fabulous. And an all plum pie is really, really good! Mom made recipe from old Martha Stewart Pie & Tart cookbook and it is excellent.

  7. Susan

    I don’t know why, but I’d have never thought to put plums, let alone prune plums, and apples, together. It sure looks good though. I love prune plums but didn’t think they’d be juicy enough to cook..they are so kind of sturdy and dry when fresh. I guess the apples add most of the moisture. Love the color too..leaving the skin on helps the sad greenish color of the prune pulp. This reminds me of a crusted cobbler more than a pie. I like that the crust isn’t too fussy, too. On my way to the farmers mkt later..I’ll have to pick up some of those last of the season plums for this.

    1. deb

      Susan — I found them incredibly juicy. In fact, I was playing around with that Nectarine Brown Butter Buckle with prune plums and it was juicy and awesome. Had I cooked my apples enough, they might have added juiciness too.

      Biscuits and gravy — NOW I see. I feel like I’m not allowed to put another biscuit or scone recipe on this site without breaking some sort of Food Blog Biscuit Quota. I have a ridiculous amount… There’s a Buttermilk-Chive Biscuit, Cream Biscuits, Blue Cheese Scallion Drop Biscuits, not to mention Jalapeno Cheddar Scones, Cream Scones, Soda Bread Scones, Lemon and Cranberry Scones, Strawberry Shortcakes AND a biscuit/scone-topped Rhubarb Cobbler. And I was thinking of sharing a fall scone recipe next week, when I might be ready to accept that is fall. And then I have a winter biscuit recipe, maybe for a holiday party…

  8. There is something so British about Plums, I just imagine this with tea around 4pm. Unfortunately I’m at work, so the best I’m gonna have at 4 is a Nutri Grain bar :( I wanna go home and bake that pie!

  9. Nicole

    I like that you still reference the source for your recipes, no matter how altered they are. Tell your friend you’re just being respectful of someone else’s intellectual property :P

    @Katherine (and Deb) Wait a minute – do you mean biscuits and gravy as in white gravy with sausage that you eat for breakfast? If that’s what you mean, don’t use roast drippings. Use the drippings from your sausage – for 2-3 people, use about 1/2 a pound of breakfast sausage, crumbled. Cook it until the fat is well-rendered, then remove with a slotted spoon. If you don’t have ~3 T of sausage grease (or even if you do), add a little butter and a little chicken fat (if you have it, a tsp or so really makes a difference, but you can do without it), add about 3 T flour to the pan to make a roux, then pour in 1 1/2 – 3 c milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Add the crumbled sausage to the gravy, and serve over soft, white-flour biscuits.

  10. A cookie crust – *sigh* I think if that pie were baked and in my kitchy right now, I’d have scarfed it all up sans whipped cream! I can almost taste the pie thru my computer screen! 2 THUMBS UP!

  11. Kathy in St. Louis

    Deb, the gravy in “biscuits and gravy” is a bechamel (I think – it’s a white, milk sauce) enriched with fried, crumbled, spicy sausage. No pan drippings are needed.

  12. This reminds me of a pandowdy.

    (How could you say this is a woefully deficient pie month???!!! What about apples??? We’re eating apple pies like there ain’t no tomorrow and butternuts are ready NOW—at least where I live.)

    I like the idea of combining plums and apples. And I like the idea of a cookie top crust. Yum.

  13. Laura

    You’re supposed to make biscuits with sausage gravy. That’s where the drippings come from. Of course I’ve never had a good version before, so I don’t know if that helps…

  14. That looks amazing and will be in my oven this weekend for sure. Two questions though… Do you think regular black or red plums would work if I can’t find prune or green plums? Also, do you recommend tart (ie Granny Smith) or sweeter apples for the filling? Thanks!

  15. I’m a huge fan of Nigel Slater and have never known a recipe of his fail. You inspire the same confidence in me so I can’t wait to try this, especially as it combines all of my favourite things. I’ve just finished making a chocolate cake for tonight though so it’ll have to wait till tomorrow.

  16. Kailee

    So pretty! I like the idea of a single crust pie. It’s like a cross between a cobbler and a pie. I prefer the messy juiciness of a cobbler over a pie anyway, so this looks pitch perfect to me.

    Although, I think I’ll serve mine with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream instead!

  17. Jen

    apples and plums are practically the only fruits I can still find at our local farmer’s market! thank you for sharing a way to cook them together!

  18. Indigo

    Ha, Deb. Couldn’t you just say ‘inspired by’ instead of ‘adapted from’? Not gonna lie; this pie is all yours.

    …Apart from the piece that’s mine. I’ll have one with ice cream, okay?

  19. Sounds wonderful. I went on a cooking binge yesterday, and one of the items was a plum-raspberry crisp (raspberry filling left over from making pies).

    I just might have to try this one, especially as I love tart-tasting fillings…

  20. i’m particularly enjoying your intro into the recipe itself. the “adapted from” issue is something all bloggers face, and I salute you for always giving credit where its due, even if you do make a ton of changes. i get really irked to see recipes that i KNOW aren’t original with no links or mention of where it’s from.

    also, i am wishing i didn’t just run out of plums. of course, there’s always the market tomorrow!

  21. Oh boy, I’ve been wanting to make an apple pie but can’t get over the daunting idea of a double crust. This sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing! Now if only I could find some plums…

  22. Julie

    Re: prune pie

    My father made a prune pie for Thanksgiving a few years back. Let’s just say…it was not a success. On any level.

  23. first, jacob is so cute that you should have at least 7 more. right away.

    second, i have been looking for a cookie top pie for quite a while. we have a farmstand in wisconsin called ‘the elegant farmer’ that was once featured on a ‘throw down with bobby flay’ for their baked in a brown bag apple pie. the top is a cookie crust and the whole thing is the stuff of autumn dreams.

    finally, we may be yankees, but my mother makes awfully good sausage gravy with sage and pepper. i’ll send the recipe in, and look forward to your biscuit advice since she always uses the ones in the can.

  24. kookie in London

    Hey Deb – spooky coincidence: I had a plum pie at a restaurant called Scott’s in London last week – a late b-day treat – and it was one of the best things I’ve eaten in ages, AND it had a cookie-like crust!!! the crust had been used for the base and top so it fully encased the plums and was quite sugar sweet but had excellent texture, not too smooth or floury – and the plums inside were perfectly sweetened too. I am seriously considering returning just to eat that pie again. Served with vanilla ice cream (eyes rolling back in head emoticon).

    So tell me, is your cookie topping chewy? I think the one I had contained brown sugar, it was a deep golden brown. I begged for the recipe but clearly the pastry chef had realised they were on to a good thing and NOT letting it go…SOB.

  25. linda

    thank you for the intro to nigel slater… throughly enjoyed reading his descriptive & seductive writing (ie: “the garden darkens….”).

    i LOVE all your recipe comparisons as well as your adaptations…keep rocking them deb!

  26. Katie

    This pie looks amazing. Well, really the cookie crust is what’s calling me.

    I’ll jump in on the biscuits and gravy talk and say as a Southerner, the best biscuit recipe I have found by far is America’s Test Kitchen’s ‘best drop biscuit’. It’s WONDERFUL for biscuits and gravy. And the others are right about the gravy. Even if you don’t have sausage you can just use butter – you’ll needs lots of pepper though to get a good flavor going.

  27. As a Brit in the US I am so happy to see some love for Nigel here! He’s a national treasure. And I for one would not bat an eyelid at more biscuit recipes. Keep them coming pls!

  28. yj

    I’m going to have to try and make this now b/c my boyfriends LOVES green gages and desserts!

    Green gages can be found in Chinatown in NYC. You can probably find them at any of the produce shops. To best maneuver around the crowds with the monkey in a stroller, you’ll probably want to head down 1st/allen or 2nd Ave/bowery. Mornings tend to be less crowded than afternoon/evenings.

  29. Danielle

    Love the pie, love your site, but did you cut Jacob’s hair? I know it had to happen, but I’m in love with his baby curls.

  30. A “woefully deficient pie month”??? Have you never heard of apples??? It’s not a lull right now at all — it’s apple season! Apple pies, apple cakes, apple tarts, apple crisp… there’s plenty to fill the space between August and late October.

  31. Kathy in St. Louis

    Am I the only one who adapts one biscuit recipe into many variations? (I don’t, to be honest, stick with one recipe; I make plain ones and toss all sorts of things into them, savory and sweet, subtle and bold. If I need to use up old milk, I make a buttermilk biscuit; if I have a surfeit of cream or half-and-half, I make a cream-biscuit. Flour/grains, leavening, salt, and butter are the consistent ingredients.)

    This is probably due to the fact that mom made biscuits occasionally on the weekends. I think she used the baking powder biscuit recipe from an old Betty Crocker book. I now make full-size batches and freeze them for the toaster oven.

    The one I haven’t tried yet is the southern beaten biscuit. The whole idea fascinates me.

    Wait, where am I? This is a post about a lovely fruit dessert (or breakfast)…!

  32. Lane

    Can I just say that I really appreciate your sugar deductions for dessert recipes. I cannot stand sweets that are too sweet. I cut back most sugar measurements and always love your recipes because I don’t have to do that, its already done.

    So thank you.

  33. Gayle S

    That crust with plummy juices bubbling through – be still my heart! Will make this weekend to avoid excess drooling on keyboard.

    Hope little Jacob got a dish of this to enjoy!

  34. This looks yummy. I have just made iddy little apple crumble tarts and still I want to stay up and bake some more now. Also, I always cut the sugar back with fruit recipes, so I love that you do too. And, you can never have too many biscuit recipes.

  35. Sarah J

    *sigh* ah Deb, I tried to make this tonight but it was not a success. Like one poster noted, the prune plums even when ripe stayed quite firm and the apples (even though I practically slivered the golden delicious) did not cook well at all. The crust was probably the best part but I found the recipe, including the crust, too orangey. Also I substituted golden brown sugar in the crust and but I think that was fine.

    Of course my husband didn’t mention until after he could tell I was disappointed that he didn’t like plums anyway.

    This is a rare failure with recipes from your site. I could make the Lemon Yoghurt Anything Cake EVERY WEEK of my life and never tire of it. Good luck with the cook book!

  36. Vidya

    I hate soggy bottoms…single crust pies are a great invention. Your brief mention of pecan pie has me drooling. Could I beg you to post a recipe? Your obsessive tweaking of recipes is great, if you’re not going to do it, I am, but since you do, I have less work to do.

  37. Oh boy. The fact that this a SINGLE CRUST PIE completely didn’t occur to me, despite the title, until Alice up there (comment number 5) pointed it out. And then I had to scroll up, read the recipe again, and peer at the photos one more time. And now I get it. Lucky for me, I’ve got some plums in the fridge that are barely on this side of edible, I think we all know their fate.

  38. Tanya

    i made it this evening and have to say that i was not impressed with the crust. i think i might have overmixed it because it turned out kind of dry and it browned more than i would’ve liked it to. i also had to increase baking time because the crust was not ready in the center. now the filling turned out delicious; i used regular plums and 1 small apple.
    next time i would just use a cobbler recipe for the topping for a softer and yummier crust.

  39. YIKES!!! Spring 2012 you are not allowed to wish time away, it goes too fast as it is (but I know, right…I’m excited about the cook book, too!)
    This sounds fabulous, but my fall plums are ALL earmarked for plum dumplings, my absolute favorite food ever…since I was 5 years old and my Oma would make them for me, took me almost 25 years to get them right (still not like Oma made) but so yummy (and the memories, priceless)!!!

  40. We all get cooking block every now-and-again. But good recovery! I really like the idea of the sweet crust and tart fillling. And I’m sure it the extra sugar in the crust that causes it to mold so nicely over the fruit like little foothills. Bravo–we’ll give this a try this week.

  41. Rhonda

    Can I have that piece of crust still on the rim with a spoonful of the juice, please. I have an Aunt that clued me in on that very best bite of pie, like a teaser to the palate. Wait until Jacob finds helicopter blades, best chewing and more of them. So how many toys are under the sofa?

  42. I’m being inundated with apples from my CSA share. This looks like a perfect reason to use a bunch of them at once and your crust will be very easy to tweak to a gluten-free version. You’ve inspired me. I’m trying this today!

  43. Melanie

    Yes. That sounds amazing! And the only thing keeping me from having this *for* dinner tonight is that, sadly, I have no plums. Or apples. Yet. However when I hit the market in the early morn, you better believe both will be on my list – as well as a pint of cream for whipping!

  44. I love your blog and I would like to give you a Lovely Blog Award. Please contact me. I will be posting the award on my blog for you to grab. Keep up the good work.

  45. Jennie

    What a delightful recipe. Plums and apples sound so good together.
    I’ll get in on the biscuits and gravy discussion. We make sausage gravy in our home all the time. I crumble and fry one pound of breakfast sausage until browned, then sprinkle about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour over the sausage and stir and cook this mixture for about a minute or two then add milk until you get the desired consistancy you are looking for. Maybe 4 or so cups. Add salt and pepper to taste then serve over biscuits. Scrambled eggs are really good on the side too.
    My mom used to make hamburger gravy the same way and would serve over mashed potatoes. Talk about comfort food. Yummy!!
    P.S. I love those curls on your little monkey.

  46. Shea

    Another way to solve the biscuits/gravy question: it may sound gross, but we have a container in the fridge at all times with leftover bacon/sausage grease. Anytime we make either, we scrape the grease into the container – that way, you can have gravy any time, even if you don’t have sausage on hand! Just scrape out a big spoonful and add milk, flour, and pepper – tada!

  47. Okay, so I just made this. Holy mackerel is it ever good. I used lemon zest in the crust/lid instead of orange. I also threw in a teaspoon of homemade vanilla extract.

    Late lunch. I almost burned myself because I could not wait!

    Thanks for the recipe. Gotta go have a second piece!

  48. oh man…makes me wish my plum tree didn’t die (attacked by a colony of ants!!). what does “Squeeze or two of orange or lemon juice” under ‘filling’ mean?

  49. Yvonne

    Thanks, Deb — and I’ll add my thanks to Janet for that link — it was lovely to read both Nigel Slater’s writing and yours today.

  50. allison

    looks amazing! although i have tons of fresh apples I’d love to use. how long should one cook the pie if made with apples only?

  51. Laura

    I just made this tonight. It was lovely! Fresh macouns and prune plums from the greenmarket this morning up here on the UES. I think I’m going to adopt the pie “top” to use in my fruit tart/crumble desserts in the future, if you don’t mind. It was divine!
    And I really liked how you could taste the fruit first, not sugar.
    Mine ended up baking for closer to 50 minutes and I turned the heat up at the last few minutes to 400 to brown the top well.
    Prune plums are wonderful!!

  52. Danita

    I made this tonight and we just finished eating some while it was still warm from the oven. Very easy and delicious. My local grocery did not have prune plums, so I used red plums and it turned out great. I love the crust! The orange rind gives it a wonderful flavor. Thanks for sharing.

  53. Jendorf

    I can NOT wait to make this–a local orchard makes their pies with a cookie crust–just like this! I’ve never found a recipe that had that cookie top.. .they bake theirs in a paper bag–and it is the best pie ever–especially the apple rhubarb.

  54. Pom

    Thank you for this recipe! I made it tonight, served with vanilla ice cream and it was a huge hit! I am comfortable making cookies all days, and while I love pies, I tend to be intimidated by them (And not because of the crust. Also, soups “scare” me. Weird, no?). Pie with cookie crust seemed do-able – and it was! So fast and easy and awfully good. Thanks!

  55. Emm

    Mmmmmmmmmm this look goooood. I prefer to taste the fruit, so a single layer of pastry totally works for me :-) I also love your recipe headnotes for your friend!!! I too struggle with calling a recipe my own, even if there have been a gazillion adjustments made ;-)

  56. This is similar to one from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cooking – Zwetgenkuchen (don’t you just love German baking names) – only upside down. Hers has a meurbeteig bottom crust, just butter, flour, sugar & egg pressed into the pan. I use all prune plums, lots of cinnamon sugar. Yes, the plums weep into the crust & it’s totally yummy. Falls apart, of course, just like yours, and you just plop it onto the plate, maybe add a little whipped cream, or not, or maybe vanilla yogurt. Devour!

  57. Made this last night for an after-the-kids are in bed dessert party with friends. I cut my apples smaller and as someone else noted above, most of them were still pretty crunchy, which is kind of weird – maybe the thick crust is preventing them from baking as well as they do in a traditional pie? The ones nearest the edges of the pan seemed to cook better. Regardless, the fruit was yummy and the crust was to-die-for.

  58. Sarah W

    This looks delicious! And I’m certainly an amateur of amateurs when it comes to baking, but it seems to me that a sweet top crust plus tart, juicy, fruity filling is more accurately called a cobbler than a pie… what makes this a ‘pie’?

  59. I made this last night and it was a hit. I might cut the fruit smaller next time, but otherwise, splendid.

    Because I like my pies a bit less soupy, I also added a bit of tapioca. Also, I used cardamom instead of cinnamon, which was really good — though I know you don’t like it Deb.

    1. deb

      Serial — Ha. I always get a kick when people remember the weird things I don’t like. (Meanwhile, speaking to my mother today, she says, “You don’t like cardamom?”)

  60. Liliana

    I just made this with a couple of my friends yesterday and it was absolutely delicious
    and beautiful to look at–i almost didn’t even want to take the first bite!
    thanks for this recipe!

  61. Susan

    I made this today and it’s delicious! I just love the crumbly cookie top. I actually shaped it in a removable bottom cake pan w/parchment underneath and just inverted onto the fruit. I scalloped the edges a bit and it looked so pretty! I cooked the fruit for about 5 or so minutes first, based on your experience with the crunchieness factor. I thought that it would be more pie-ish than cutting the fruit too small. It worked well. It still had some texture, but it had juiced out nicely. In a million years I wouldn’t have put the two fruits together! I’m so glad you did, Deb. I learned something new!

  62. Amy B.- Portland, OR

    Deb- made the recipe last night and it was delicious. Got home from the grocery and realized that I forgot a lemon/orange so put a little grated ginger in the crust and subbed in cardamon (sorry, know you don’t like it) in the fruit. Great combo that provided some spicy warmth. For some reason I had quite a time rolling out the crust and ended up cobbling together the top. It turned out beautifully. Let’s just say that I’ve had several servings since last night :) Thanks Deb!

  63. Dorothy

    Deb- Just made this… and let me say, it was AMAZING!!!!! I absolutely loved the crust! mmmm perfect texture, and the sweetness counteracted some of the tartness from the apples. I thought I cut the apple small enough… but it was still a little firm. The plums brought it to a whole new dimension– I don’t think I will ever be satisfied with regular apple pie again!!!! Thank you for another delicious recipe!!!

  64. Kelley

    I am not normally a pie person, but I was seduced by the simplicity of this dish. So tonight I tried with a combination of white and yellow peaches. The crust was perfect, not too sweet, and it did not crumble on me. It was simple, sumptuous and satisfying end to Sunday dinner!

  65. As a Nigel Slater devotee, am thrilled to find this recipe here. It looks amazing! I had a punnet of plums sitting in my fruit bowl for ages, and I am now feeling that they were not given the pie they deserved! *Goes on quest to find more plums*

  66. Deneen

    I made this to take to dinner w/ my folks on Sunday. It was a HUGE hit. The plums, apples & touch of orange were brilliant together! And it couldn’t have been easier. Definitely taking a permanent place in my repertoire. I’m hoping that my husband didn’t finish it off today & there is a piece waiting for me when I get home.

  67. Linda M.

    I am not much of a pie baker,but have wanted to start. Once made a pecan pie that cooked too long, burned pecans – not tasty. Question – is there a preferred type of apple to use? I have always heard to use Granny Smiths in pies…just curious.

  68. suzanne

    I used plums and nectarines (instead of apples). I rolled out the crust between 2 sheets of waxed paper and then lifted the crust on the paper over the filling. It worked really well and the result was a really delicious dessert – I’ll be making it again very soon.

  69. Ryan

    Made this pie last night! Sooooo yummy! I had some very ripe plums and a mountain of apples (just went apple picking!) and was looking for a plum/apple pie type recipe… I thought lets check Smitten Kitchen and see if there’s a recipe for something like that…and there it was on the first page!!! I had to rub my eyes and make sure I wasn’t imagining things!!! Thanks for the recipe it came out perfect! (Mine looks exactly like yours!) I even had a bit of dough left over and made a cookie out of it! tee hee!

  70. Emily

    I made this last night & it turned out very very beautifully. I was surprised how easy pies are when there isn’t a double crust! My improvements: Like another commenter, I had a lot more success rolling out the dough on waxed paper. I just rolled it out straight on a single sheet, eyeballed the size, then flipped the wax paper over on top of the pie and peeled the paper off of the dough. No tearing, even after baking, and a lot cleaner than covering the countertop in flour. My plums were a little less ripe than I would have liked, so I doubled (!) the sugar in the filling & I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I used Gravenstein apples and cooked them on medium-low in 1-2 tbsp. butter until they were somewhat soft (5-10 minutes). Then I mixed the rest of the filling ingredients in the same pot before scraping them into the pie dish. As a result, the apples turned out fantastic (I think someone else also mentioned this fix).

  71. Lisa

    I’m mildly obsessed with this crust–it was so delicious! What are the odds it would make good cookies? Anyways, this pie was fantastic. I used regular old black plums (3) and Cortland apples (3); next time (there will be one!) I’ll up the sugar by a tablespoon, and will probably use a bit more cinnamon and some nutmeg. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Deb!

  72. Gorgeous! I haven’t combined plum and apples before, though it seems obvious now. Hmm… maybe a plum apple jam to keep the season alive late into winter?

  73. Wow, this looks great! And I love the single crust – makes it that much easier. I love the vibrant color the plums add – you definitely will never get that with apples alone. I must try this soon!

  74. The sound of rolling eyes makes me laugh! I love how tasty this looks and how adaptable it appears. If you changed the proportions around you could make it either a savory for dinner or as a different dessert option.

    And of course, I read it as “what’s stopping you from having this for dinner tonight?” Yum.

  75. I have been a long time fan of smittenkitchen and have tried a few of your recipes, with pretty good results (and I blame myself for whatever flaws occurred!). I have a pan brimming with this delicious pie and wanted to give you my review. I found the dough very easy to work with and didn’t have resort to my trick of using vodka to make it more malleable yet not tough (bless you Cooks Illustrated). Since I was forewarned about it tearing, I didn’t freak out when it proceeded to do just that as I lifted it onto the pie filling. Next time, I’ll try loading it onto the rolling pin, a skill that I’ve yet to master and generally think of too late. I was unable to find prune plums or greengages, so I used black plums instead and found them quite tasty when paired with Cortland apples. Since they’re bigger than prune plums, I cut them into eighths and they retained their shape without overwhelming the apples. I liked the fact that the filling is nice and tart and the crust is lightly sweet. I find orange juice sometimes overpowers apples and plums, so I used fresh lemon juice in the filling and lemon zest in the crust instead. I think I may omit the cinnamon next time, as I really want the fruit to come through on its own. Thank you for sharing!

  76. Can’t wait to make this pie. Thanks for all of the great recipes. I just featured your Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispy Treats on my blog – it’s new and has no fans, but its a start. Keep up the great work!

  77. Janet

    Ooo, glad you liked it! I thought it sounded fab and just right for you : )

    Lately, I’ve been putting a smidge of ground cardomom in my apple/plum goodnesses. Hoo boy, yummy. Give it a shot.)

  78. I made this last night with huge success! Could not have been easier and used up my full CSA load of fruits this week. I used whole wheat flour for the 6 tablespoons to give it a more rustic feel – not sure it made a huge difference but certainly made me feel a little healthier! Thanks, Deb.

  79. Carrie

    Perfect timing! Our crop share bag had a pound of plums and lots of apples in it this week. And oh boy, that pie is awesome! My husband and I aren’t huge fans of traditional pie crusts, so the cookie-like crust was amazing. Yum, and thanks! Dessert was great last night.

  80. Magda

    Can the dough for this be made ahead? How long would it keep? (ie. if I make it Fri night, bake the pie Sat aft/evening, will it be good for Sunday dinner?) Our Thanksgiving dinner is on the Sunday and I may not get oven time due to a turkey….

  81. Grace

    yum! i made this today and i loved how simple the recipe was! i didn’t have plum so i used half apple and pear. was delish! but i think i will only add a third cup of sugar next time, was a bit too sweet for my tastes.

  82. M.E.

    This sounds awesome! You’re idea of putting apples in as well is divine. In the summer, I made something like this; in the sense of only putting a top crust, and it was absolutly scrumptious so I must make this. The thing I made was called a pandowdy. It’s kind of like a cobbler/crisp kind of thing with apples, blueberries, lemon juice, and brown sugar as the filling.
    Can’t wait to make this! Thanks for the recipe!

  83. paula

    i just made this today using red pears and an apple. it is fantastic! i didn’t even waste the extra crust scraps! i just rolled them out into a giant cookie and baked it for about 20 minutes, broke it into pieces for a little “preview” of greatness to come. my husband thought they tasted just like the old-fashioned Nabisco Lorna doone cookies! thanks for sharing this “keeper”!

  84. Kristin

    I saw this recipe last week, and I had everything on hand to make it… my roommate, his friends, and my co-workers thank you! It was fantastic! I am looking forward to using this crust/cookie with other fruit combos in the future, I have a list already. Thanks, Deb.

  85. Just made this pie over the weekend, and ZOMG it was amazing. I threw in some blueberries because if I didn’t use them up, they would have gone kaput, plus some red plums and apples. I thought the combination of textures – the apples, as expected, didn’t cook quite as much as the rest of the fruit – was really good, and the crust….Oh that crust! Rhapsodies! My biggest problem was keeping my husband from eating it all in one sitting. I think he had three servings in the space of an hour.
    Thank you!

  86. Sarah in Kansas

    This was my first attempt at a pie and it turned out great! Yay! The plum, apple and bit of orange flavors all worked perfectly together. I didn’t have prune plums, so I used a couple of giant plums/pluots I had in the fridge that were way to juicy for my plum-loving two-year-old. He got distracted by the whipped cream and never made it to the pie, but my husband thought this was the best recipe I’ve ever made. He wants me to try making just the top (like a cookie). Any tips on how to make that happen? Love your site!

  87. Mary

    Okay, I have two complaints, Deb, but that is because you have set us up to expect high standards. First, I know we were warned of the odd measurements, but I think that if you are going to truly adapt a recipe you should change the measurements. Second, this is not a pie. I know, I know, you said it is not a pie, but the title is sooo seductive to those of us strapped for time. C’mon, it’s a cobbler – don’t mislead us poor lemmings with the pretty headlines. At least we fell off into a cliff of cobbler, though. Not too bad.

  88. Fudge

    I was really intrigued by this recipe. Prunes and apples? Unknown to me yet seems so tantalizing. I tried baking this two days ago but results didn’t turn out as good as yours ): Mine did not have that lovely purple colour that oozed out of the crust which I was looking so much forward to, and the the filling was very watery. My friend said that it could be the fruits wasn’t cooked enough? Even though watery, I still find the prune and apple combination super yummy, and the pastry was totally love, especially with the hint of orange zest. Haha, I’m still a beginner but totally love this recipe!

  89. I love this recipe .. it looks utterly gorgeous. In England we have a bit of an obsession with Crumble ).. there is a fab recipe on my site) .. but I may have to cook this instead .. it really does look good!

  90. Sonia

    This was great; I made it as written with pluots and gala apples. The filling did bubble out through the crust, which I initially rolled out on parchment before flipping it over the pie dish – no tears, but by the time it was done baking there were a few outbursts). Brought it to an apple pressing party, and served with whipped cream…it was the first dessert to disappear, long before the pumpkin pie. I didn’t even get to try a piece so I guess I’ll be making it again soon..thanks Deb!

  91. Sonia

    Oh but maybe i didn’t use the correct term?! A nice fall day in western Mass (and there are so few) + a truckload of local apples + an ancient cider mill + a lot of elbow grease = gallons of fresh-pressed cider….it’s bubbling in the fridge, but i’m still thinking about that pie! Honestly, i think that dessert scored me the re-invite for next year…and so you’re very welcome to check it out next year! (you and whomever you decide to bring along…and with whichever pies that may be accompanying you…).

  92. erin

    i made this for guests, yum! i was lacking oranges, so i used orange juice instead. i also made a slightly different crust–one i had made a few days ago, and all worked great! bless the combinations of apples and plums. yums.

  93. Naomi

    Just made this and it is super yum! The plums got a bit too liquidy for my tastes. Maybe too much orange juice? Am eating mainly the crust anyway, it’s too delicious. I used a mixture of both brown and white sugar for more golden deliciousness.

  94. Naomi

    p.s. I too found the dough too sticky to work with and ended up rolling out between two layers of cling wrap, which worked a treat

  95. Oh my. This soooo takes me back to the plum pies my mother used to regularly make. Unfortunately, she used tinned plums and it took me ages to realize that the fresh variants are so much better, even if you don’t get the bright screaming-red colour that you do from the tinned variety ;-)

    Me’thinks I may have found a comfort food pie for the weekend. Now I just need to perfect a gluten free, dairy free pie crust recipe for my loved one. Anybody got any suggestions?

  96. Christa

    I made this to take to our family Thanksgiving dinner at my Grandma’s house tonight. We had some leftover filling so I made a tiny taster pie also. Oh man, that stuff is good. I expect glowing reviews tonight when I feed it to the family. Thanks again!

  97. Diana

    Thanks so much for posting – the pictures looked so delicious I went ahead a baked this. Haven’t tasted it yet – but I appreciate your photos. Nice work.

  98. Gosh, I’ve been making a version of this for a couple of years. I’ve used, apples, pears, plums, drained pineapple, apricots, nectarines and peaches. I’m making one today and adding dried cranberries. It doesn’t seem to matter what crazy combination I’ve used, the gals at work love it.

  99. Could you use Italian plum instead in this recipe? I like to use up what i already have on hand to make things. I suspect the Italian plum is softer, sweeter plum… mine are possibly past there time at this point. Anyone’s thoughts on this?

    1. Jen K

      And of course, now I see you have this on your site as well. Awkward! But it’s really quite a wonderful tried-and-true recipe. Now I look forward to trying this one!

  100. Lisa

    I thought of cooking the apples first in maybe a tablespoon of butter. Then adding the plums when the apples are cooked halfway through. That will even out the cooking times and allow the apples to stay in those lovely large chunks. Grating the very cold dough over the fruit might be easier than rolling. I think the whole dish could then be cooked for slightly less time at a slightly higher temperature, maybe 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

  101. Donice

    I made this following the recipe except no orange zest and lemon juice in the fruit. It is quite wonderful, I especially like the shortbread-like crust. It could work well with even more fruit.

  102. I am going to try this tomorrow with little 4” round fluted paper baking pans. Would you guess I should cut rounds of crust smaller than the top of the “dish” so it nestles inside? There isn’t a rim, so it’s either inside or kind of hanging out on top flush with the edge…

  103. Hendrik

    I made this for the third time today and yet again it was lovely. I had about 250 g of frozen greengages only, so added some equally frozen last year’s rhubarb to make up half the filling. It doesn’t really matter what you use. Half the filling should provide the tartness and juicyness, while the other half – and there Deb has it over Nige – provides some substance. Perfect. And as ususal w/ me with half wholewheat flour.

    Btw you can easily do this w/ a hand-mixer. When the going gets tough once you have half the flour in, you rub the rest in w/ a spatula.

  104. Lois Servaas

    True, good taste but the ratio of fruit to topping is off. I would either cut the crust dough in half and spread that over or use double the fruit. I made this in a non stick, 9” cake pan