Plum Hand Pies
It’s been a while since I brought something sweet to this table. It’s summertime and many of my favorite stone fruits are ripe and ready for the picking. These plum hand pies came about because I’ve been trying to educate myself a little bit about plums lately. Plums vary in taste (sweet or tart) and texture (firm and crisp or soft and juicy). So you have to know a little something when looking around for the best you can find.
This shouldn’t be a difficult task this time of year. I live in Southern California. We grow some of the best plums in the world. So you’d think you could pop into any grocery store and pick a peck of plums, head home a make really terrific plum hand pies. But that’s not necessarily the case. According to David Karp there’s a category of plums known as a “shipping plums”. Shipping plums are bred and grown to be sent somewhere across the globe. Someplace where plums either don’t grow or are out of season. These are the disappointing plums you’ve come across in your life. Hiromi Red, Fortune and Friar are examples of shipping plums.
It might shock you to know that even here in California (even in plum season) large chains often sell shipping plums because it’s part of some messed up supply chain. It’s a system that ends up shipping fruits and vegetables from far away to Southern California– one of the most prolific farming regions in this country. That’s so messed up and I can’t quite understand why they do it. But it’s true.
I want my plum hand pies to be as good as they can be. This is why I feel the need to arm myself with some information about which are the good eating plums. Everyone knows plum hand pies are only as good as your plums. David Karp suggests these varieties from farmers near here: “Burgundy (dark maroon skin and flesh; available from Arnett, Cirone and Honey Crisp); Satsuma (speckled skin, red flesh; from Garcia Organic, Tenerelli and Rieger); Mariposa (speckled skin, red flesh; from Mud Creek, Truman Kennedy, Burkart and Cirone); Laroda (purple skin, amber flesh, rich flavor; from Asdoorian, Burkart and Tenerelli); and Wickson and Kelsey (green, yellow or red skin, depending on ripeness; from Truman Kennedy, Olson, Arnulfo Garcia, K&K Ranch). In early August comes Elephant Heart, with speckled skin and deep purple flesh, from Kennedy, Rieger and Cirone.”