Almond-Sesame Pastry (adapted from Leslie Mackie)
1½ cups sliced almonds, toasted and cooled*
½ cup sesame seeds, toasted and cooled*
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon lemon zest
10 ounces (2½ sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut into ½” pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract; set aside. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the flour, sugars, spices and zest. Pulse a few times to combine then add the toasted, cooled almonds and sesame seeds. Pulse a few times; don’t over process. Add the cubed butter and pulse just until the mixture is crumbly, not pasty. Remove the bowl from the food processor and transfer the mixture to a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add the eggs/vanilla to the dough, turning the mixer on and off just until the mixture is combined. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and knead it briefly, just until it comes together. Weigh out one 16 oz. portion of dough, shape it into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. That will be the top crust. Shape the remaining dough into a disc (it should weigh about 26 ounces) and wrap in plastic wrap. That will line the baking pan. Refrigerate the top and bottom crusts for at least 2 hours before rolling out. When ready to roll out the dough, lightly butter and flour your 9” wide x 12½” long x 1” deep baking pan, also known as a quarter sheet pan. Lightly flour a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the larger portion of dough to a rectangle about 13” x 9” and ¼” thick. Transfer the dough to the quarter sheet pan by either draping it over a lightly floured rolling pan and then unrolling the pin so the dough fills the pan, or carefully invert the parchment over the pan and peel back the parchment. The dough is softer than pie pastry; flour your fingers and work quickly so the dough doesn’t get too warm. Chill the bottom crust while you roll out the second portion of dough (top crust) on a lightly floured sheet of parchment. Transfer the parchment with the top crust to a baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
1½ lbs. of plums, rinsed, halved, pitted, cut into ½” slices (I used a combination of purple plums and prune plums) enough for 5 cups, sliced
1½ cups fresh blackberries, lightly rinsed, dried on a paper towel
½ cup granulated sugar
2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar (depending on how sweet/tart you like your pie)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
egg wash made from 1 egg yolk beaten together with 2 tablespoons of cream or milk
coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugars, cornstarch, salt, zest and spices. Place the plum slices in a heavy bottomed pan, add the sugar mixture and turn to coat using a wooden spoon. Cook over low to medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring so the bottom doesn’t stick, until the plums cook down and become thick. Add the butter, remove from the heat, transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the top crust from the refrigerator and cut out strips of dough (if you want more of a lattice top) or shapes (if you want a more rustic look.) Place the top crust back in the refrigerator. When the pie filling is totally cool, retrieve the bottom crust from the refrigerator. Gently add the blackberries to the plum filling and pour the filling over the pastry-lined pan. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Place your lattice strips or your cut-outs over the filling. Gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Refrigerate the pie for 15 minutes. Bake on the bottom rack of the preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling thickly around the edges. Set on a rack to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.
*Almonds and sesame seeds can either be toasted separately on two baking pans in a preheated 350 degree oven or over low heat in a cast iron skillet on top of the stove. Keep an eye on them- it only takes about 8 minutes for the almonds, 5 for the sesame seeds.