I was going to make this post about all the yummy Mexican food I’ve been eating since I moved to California. From chile spiced mangoes, to tripa (tripe) and lengua (toungue) tacos, to the greatest posole in the world.. which of course came out of a kitchen much like yours and mine. But looking back on many of the holidays we’ve missed since the New Year, I remembered an important one… Valentine’s Day. So my post about my obsession with Mexican food will just have to wait.
Valentine is truly a food holiday. Whether you’re hitched up and celebrating your love at a swanky restaurant, or home alone watching movies and eating little boxes of Chinese food and yummy chocolate… you know what you’re eating on Valentine’s Day.
This Valentine’s Day for me was unlike past years. Rather than celebrating at one of the city’s most praised restaurants and planning for weeks about the perfect night for me and my (now ex-) boyfriend, I decided I was going to celebrate my love of cooking and share something with the people I have recently come to love and care about in my life. After perusing through many an article in my Bon Appetit magazines (yes–I save them all!), I came across a perfect one, a Plum and Mascarpone Pie. Perfect Valentine’s material.
Now not only was this a test to my pie-making skills (Lauren, you know, is the pie master), but it was my first time using the oven in my new apartment. Finger’s crossed. Nevertheless, it turned out perfect, slightly sweet with a rich (lusty) plum color and deep flavors of ripe plums and the mascarpone cheese. A hint of lemon really makes this pie pop! So try it not just on Valentine’s Day, but for whenever you want to celebrate your love of cooking (baking, really). By sharing with others, you’ll let them know you love them too. : )
So, without more ‘ado… Here’s the recipe.
Plum and Mascarpone Pie
adapted from Bon Appetit August 2012 Magazine
1 pie crust, home-made preferably (see epicurious basic flaky pie crust recipe)
5 lb firm ripe plums (about 25), quartered with skin on
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 oz mascarpone
1/3 cup creme fraiche
2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
[Optional crumble topping: 1/2 cup quick oats, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp chilled butter, slivered almonds, agave nectar]
Equipment: 9″ pie pan
Preheat oven to 350. Line pie dish with crust and bake according to pie crust instructions. Place plums in a large bown, add 1 1/2 cups sugar, lemon juice, and scrape in half of vanilla bean seeds. Toss. Arrange plums cut side down on glass baking dish(es) and bake until tender, about 40-60 minutes. If using crumble top, bake only 20 minutes.
Use the juices from the plum mixture to create a sauce by pouring juices into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened and reduced to a half cup (about 4-5 min).
Combine 2 tbsp sugar, mascarpone, creme fraiche, and honey or agave in a medium bowl. Scrape in the other half of the vanilla bean seeds and using an electric mixer on high, beat until firm peaks form.
Crumble topping: Make glaze with plum juices. Combine crumble ingredients together with hands and mush together until crumbs form and butter is mostly incorporated. Place plums in pie pan and top with crumple, adding more slices almonds on top. Bake for additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling on edges. Set aside to cool. Scoop Serve with mascarpone mixture and plum glaze.
Standard: Make sure crust if fully cooked and plums are chilled. Spread mascarpone mixture evenly over bottom of crust. Arrange chilled plums on top and serve with plum glaze.
Note: For a healthier guilt-free version or on a hot summer day, go crust-less with the crumble topping and use a mixture of greek yogurt and honey or agave to serve with. And glaze, of course! Happy eating!