This rustic tart recipe came highly recommended by my sister Caroline, who found the recipe in a favorite cookbook, The Gourmet Cookbook. Italian prune plums have been abundant in our local market lately, so my mom decided to test out this lauded dessert. The crust can be whirled together in the food processor and simply pressed in the tart pan, requiring relatively little expertise in pastry making. Not at all jammy, this tart showcases the bright, clean flavor of the plums, and will have your guests asking for more.
For Pastry Dough:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) plus 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1¾ pounds small plums, preferably prune plums, halved and pitted
1½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
crème fraiche, lightly sweetened sour cream or Greek yogurt
A 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom
Make the dough:
Combine flour, butter, sugar, salt and zest in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-sized) lumps of butter. Add yolks and process just until incorporated and dough begins to clump.
Turn dough out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. Smear each portion once with hell of your hand in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together, using a pastry scraper if you have one, form into a ball, and flatten into a disk.
Put dough in tart pan and pat out with floured fingertips into an even layer on bottom and up sides so it extends about ¼ inch above rim. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling:
Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add plums and lemon juice and toss to coat. Let plums macerate at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 30 minutes.
Assemble and bake the tart:
Put a rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange plum halves skin sides down in tart shell in an overlapping decorative pattern. Halve any remaining plums lengthwise and randomly tuck in among plum halves. Pour all juices from bowl over plums.
Bake tart for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F, cover tart loosely with foil, and bake until plums are tender and juices are bubbling and slightly thickened, about 40 minutes or more. Brush warm juices over plums.
Cool tart completely on a rack, about 2 hours. (Juices will continue to thicken as tart cools.)
Remove rim of pan and serve tart with crème fraiche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt.
- The unbaked tart shell can be refrigerated, covered for up to 1 day.
- The plums can macerate for up to 1 day, covered and refrigerated. Stir well before arranging in the tart shell.
From The Gourmet Cookbook, p. 783 (Houghton Mifflin 2004).