Sep 25, 2009

plum tarts

the queen of hearts she made some tarts all on a summer's day.... i love a good fruit tart. i love fruit. i love how pretty they look with so little effort. everyone always exclaims when a pie or tart is baked. i suppose it seems difficult and old fashioned, even quaint. but really they are simple. dough in a food processer. (fool proof this way for those of us who struggle with dough). fruit washed and sliced. a bit of sugar. an egg. bake. i believe that if you can make a pizza you can make a tart. i baked this for a back to school treat for the kids for surviving the first few weeks of school and working so hard. i highly recommend these ceramic tart pans. so easy. so nicely they bake. the removable bottom ones are nice as well in metal. and make the release of the tart from the pan when serving a bit easier. but i don't mind a slice or two crumbling upon removal, the cook gets to eat the spoils after all.

plum tarts

pastry for 2 tart shells
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 TBSP sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into slices
1 large egg yolk
5 TBSP cold water, give or take, as needed

place flours, salt, sugar, butter in food processor. pulse briefly until combined and has that coarse meal texture. drop in the egg yolk and 3TBSP cold water. pulse until dough just comes together. add a bit more water if needed. the less you mix the dough, the lighter the crust will be. form the dough into two flat discs. refrigerate for half an hour. after 30 minutes. roll out dough and place in 2 9 to 10 inch tart pans.

now with a fruit as juicy as plums, the question becomes: how to contain the juice so it does not spoil the pastry crust? in alsace, they often use a bread crumb mixture. like a crumble topping. i like that very much. alice waters or chez panisse uses cream and sugar. also nice. this recipe is simpler and uses egg, sugar, lemon juice and maybe some chopped nuts.

preheat oven to 350 degrees  
16 large plums, cut in half, pits removed (you may require more or less, depending of course, on the size of your tart pans and your plums)
filling mixture
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, almonds or pistachios (optional)

slice up your plumbs and place attractively in the pastry lined tart pans. mix up your filling mixture with a whisk until combined. pour over tarts. bake for 45 to 50 minutes until crust is lightly browned and filling is set. let cool for a minimum of 20 minutes. 45 would be better. enjoy.

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