Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rustic Plum Tart

Last Thursday was Louis' birthday, so earlier in the week I was browsing through some cookbooks for birthday meal ideas. I saw a recipe for a Rustic Plum Tart in Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert. It had two things that immediately got my attention. It used plums which I happened to have. And it sounded really simple which is exactly what I wanted for a weeknight. I also knew that Louis would like it because, let's just be frank here, he's not very picky, and he has a habit of calling every dessert "his favorite". Really, I think it's just an excuse for him to go back for seconds or thirds.

Rustic is a nice description for this tart, down right homely is another. But beneath those horribly wrinkled skins sit soft, juicy plums anchored in a dough that is somewhere between a tart and a cake. Not only is this a breeze to put together, it is delicious. The texture is really much more like a cookie, soft and a bit chewy in the middle with a crunchy, nubbly edge.

The recipe calls for plums, but I think you could use any fruit that is a bit tart. The dough is quite sweet, so the fruit needs some tartness to balance everything out. I think apricots would be perfect. And tart apples, like Granny Smith, would be great. In fact, this recipe is nearly identical to this one that I made several months back.

I would categorize this recipe under nearly perfect. It is adaptable to any season. It comes together in less than 15 minutes (not including baking), and it gets better with age. Well, it was better on the second day than on the first. I can't attest to the third or fourth days because let's be honest here, baked goods don't last long in my house. Unless I hide them...

Rustic Plum Tart
adapted from Pure Dessert

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons firm but not hard unsalted butter cut into pieces
4-6 juicy, flavorful plums or pluots

Preheat the oven to 375F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the egg and butter, and pulse just until the mixture resembles damp yellow sand and is beginning to clump around the blade.

Press the dough evenly over the bottom but not up the sides of a 9 in fluted tart pan. A cake pan would also work.

If the plums are no bigger than 2 inches in diameter, cut them in half and remove the pits. Cut larger plums into quarters or sixths, removing the pits. Leaving a margin of 1/2 inch around the edge of the pan, arrange halved plums cut side up over the dough,with a little space between each one. Arrange wedges skin side up, pressing them slightly into the dough so that they will not turn onto their sides while baking.

Bake until the pastry is puffed, deep golden brown at the edges, and nicely golden brown in the center between the plums, 50-55 minutes. Set the tart on a rack to cool for 10 minutes, and then loosen the rim of the tart pan before cooling further. Serve warm or at room temperature.

serves 8


  1. Hee hee. Louis is not very picky? Who knew?? ;-)

  2. Thanks Ms. Foodie Hunter. I have to say that I have been inspired by all of your lovely photo's of plummy goodness:)

    Ahem, yeah, Louis wasn't very pleased with my portrayal of his "garbage disposal" behavior;)

  3. Greeeeeaaaaat just what I needed, a public flogging. Now lets see, would Chels prefer a picky eater or a open-minded-eat-all food lover?

  4. Oh Baba,
    Teasing and flogging are sooo different;)You know I love your love for food. It's one of the many things I love about you.

  5. This looks amazing! I love rustic desserts

  6. If only I had found this recipe a month ago when we had such a glut of plums!