Here we are in the last days of stone fruit season… This time of year is just bountiful and begs to be appreciated.
So, when my mom called to say: “The plums are ready to be picked!” my girls and I were there in her sunny garden, filling our little basket with these gems the very next morning. There is nothing more satisfying than harvesting fresh fruit and turning it into a delicious creation within hours. The timing was perfect because our dear friends Karl and Gail had arrived from Seattle and were coming for dinner, and now I knew just what to make for dessert.
I have been experimenting with a tart recipe lately, inspired by Nigel from his Kitchen Diaries book. The recipe is a gourmand’s version of a no-bake tart, and with all the excitement of raw eggs. Unfortunately (I think) for us here in the USA, we have a strong mistrust of all eggs raw as the FDA has properly put the fear of salmonella into our hearts. So, when my children and guests are eating my culinary experiments, I have to be sure that I do not wind up guilty of putting them in the hospital. Which is why I decided to bake the thing. And then of course, I got to fiddling with the rest of the recipe and now have something entirely different but totally delicious.
Red Plum Tart with a Roasted Almond Crust
by Stephanie Kunstle
- ½ cup ground toasted sliced almonds
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- About 2 Tbsp water
- 8 oz. (226 g) marscapone
- 1 Tbsp. powdered or superfine sugar
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 c sliced red plums
- 1/4 c brown or demerara sugar for sprinkling
- Spread sliced almonds on a baking sheet, and toast for about five minutes, tossing every minute or two at 350 F until you just begin to smell their aroma and they are barely starting to turn golden. Remove them from the baking sheet immediately to a bowl to cool. Once they are cool, grind in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor until they are quite fine.
- Combine flour, ground almonds, sugar, salt, and cubed butter in food processor or bowl. Using a pastry cutter or food processor, combine until the mixture is coarse with small bits of butter remaining.
- Gradually add the water a tablespoon at a time until it forms a smooth ball. If, after 2 Tbsp, your dough is not smooth and firm, sprinkle a ½ tablespoon of water at a time until the dough is just right. The almonds give the dough extra fat, so you will need less water than you think. (You can also correct too-wet dough with a touch of flour, if necessary.)
- Press into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour, or pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Roll it out on a floured surface and fit it into your tart pan, being careful to have a generous amount cover all areas of the pan. Keep chilled until ready to fill.
- Combine egg yolk, sugar, and marscapone and mix with wisk attachment on slow until just beginning to mix. Add vanilla, and then mix on high speed for about 2 minutes until mixture is pale yellow and thick, scraping down sides a couple of times.
- Separately, beat egg white until it forms stiff peaks.
- Fold egg white into marscapone mixture.
- Fill crust, and lay the plums on top, sprinkling sugar over the entire tart.
- Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes, or until golden on top and slightly wobbly in the center.
- Let the tart cool to room temp, and dust with powdered sugar before serving.