Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Welcome Plums in a Tart

August brings us plums in the midwest.  Markets are overflowing with Santa Rosa, Vanier, Green Gage and Black Ruby varieties.  In shades of deepest dark red, yellow and green they fill baskets and spill onto table tops at our farmer's market.  Their tart skin and sweet flesh are delicious for eating out of hand.  When put into a tart, they are irresistible!!  I toted a large bag home from Saturday's market and artfully arranged them on the kitchen counter while I decided what to do with at least a part of them.  In wandered my "baker".  "Those look good.  What do you plan for them?" he asked.  "Oh, maybe we should just eat them" I said.  Before I could say "Little Jack Horner",  the "baker" went off to search his newspaper recipe file and soon this lovely tart appeared.

Almond Plum Tart inspired by a recipe in the Chicago Tribune

1 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and frozen
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp ice water


1 1/2 cups sliced, blanched almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup almond liqueur
2 large eggs

Plum topping:

1 1/4 pounds fresh plums (mixed), pitted, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp each  unsalted butter, sugar

1.  Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor.  Blend for about 2 seconds.  Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal.  With the motor running, add the egg yolk and the water then pulse until the dough is just coming together into a ball.
2.  Transfer the dough to a floured board and press into a round.  Roll out into a circle large enough to fit a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Fit dough loosely into the pan.  Trim off excess dough from the edges.  Press the dough lightly against the sides of the pan.  Place the pan into the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3.  For filling,  process the almonds in the food processor until finely ground.  Add sugar, butter, flour and liqueur.  Pulse until a paste forms.  Add the eggs and process to incorporate, about 10 seconds.  Spread mixture in the tart dough and smooth out.
4.  For plum topping, arrange plum slices overlapping tightly in concentric circles.  Arrange two rows of plum slices in the center of the tart.  Dot with butter and sugar.  Bake until tart is brown on top, about 1 hour.  Cool.  NOTE:  You can substitute apples or pears for the plums.