Pie of hearts
1.4kg dark plums, de-stoned and halved
500g rich shortcrust pastry (see recipe on first page)
4 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
300ml cold water butter, for greasing flour, for dusting
1 tbsp full fat milk
In a large saucepan, place the plum halves with 3 tbsp sugar and the cold water. Stir, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, then allow to cool. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5 and grease a 25cm fluted round pie dish. Halve the pastry and place one half back in the fridge. On a clean surface dusted with flour, roll out the remaining pastry to fit in the dish with a little to spare. Place the pastry in the dish, making sure it overhangs slightly so that the top pastry layer can attach to it. Fill the pastry case with the plums and pour over half of the plum liquid, discarding the remainder. On a surface dusted with flour, roll out the piece of pastry from the fridge to fit the top of the dish. It should be approximately 1cm thick. On a piece of thin card, cut out a heart template, approximately 3cm long. Use this to cut a heart in the middle of the pastry, then cut out six others in a formation, a little like a flower. Be careful not to cut the hearts too close together, as the pastry may break when moved. Continue to cut heart shapes out of the pastry around the original heart cluster. Swiftly, move the pastry onto the pie, making sure the hearts are in the centre. Trim the edges and use a spoon handle to imprint a pattern around the edge of the pie. Brush the pie with milk, sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar and bake for 30 mins until golden. Sprinkle with a little more sugar after it has cooled for 5 mins, then serve.