Have you ever heard of a Sand Hill plum before? Perhaps, a Chickasaw plum? If you haven't, take comfort in knowing that you aren't alone. Until this week, I hadn't heard of them either.
These small, tart and astringent plums are native to Kansas, where I live. They are so called because they grow naturally in sandy soil, which is a bit of an oddity for fruit-bearing trees. They are excellent for windbreakers in fields and atop hills, and even better for the wildlife as songbirds cannot get enough of them. If you love birdwatching and have some sandy soil, may I suggest the Sand Hill plum for your landscape?
These are smaller than your average plum found in in the grocery store, but you may be lucky to find these kind in the farmer's market. These kind of plums are tart, astringent, but have a bright and complex flavor which makes them unique. I love stone fruits because they are most-excellent for canning, jams, pie fillings, and toppers for ice cream.
When I was given these in my CSA share, I admit I didn't know what I wanted to do with them. Oh, sure, you could make yourself a jam or a pie, but that market seemed a bit oversaturated in those kinds of recipes. I didn't just want to make it a syrup or sauce. I wanted so much to make the plum the star of the show, while also showing something fun that maybe not everybody has thought of before. No matter what, you're going to need to process them with quite a bit of sugar, which means there will be some beautiful syrup. This does scream pie! But what is similar to pie without being pie?
And then it hit me...
I know that this is one of those highly regional dishes that everyone does a little differently. I learned how to make strudel many years ago when I worked at a German place. I didn't even really know what it was supposed to look like until I started working there, but I hope I was quick to pick it up. Since then, I didn't make it at home because it was honestly such an ordeal...
Strudel dough is difficult because it must be paper-thin and you need a lot of room to roll it out. I think I've figured out a way to do it, however, in a home setting with only one section of the counter available to roll out. Here's how I did it!
- 150 g AP flour
- 10 g sugar
- 14 g oil
- 80 g warm water
- Melted butter, as needed (I use vegan butter!)
- 430 g (two pints) sandhill plums, pitted
- 200 g sugar
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 Tbsp AP flour
- 1 medium pink lady apple, julienned
- Warmed honey, as needed