This is a truly outstanding plum tart and I first made it long ago; longer than I care to admit. I’ve pulled the recipe out of my archives because I’m on a Victoria (Italian prune) plum-roll right now, baking them into assorted pies and crumbles until their short season comes to an end.
The sweet crust pastry is a wonderful melt-in-the-mouth version and provided you have a food processor, it only takes minutes to make. However, it does need at least two (and up to 24) hours of ‘resting’ time in the fridge and as the tart crust is baked ‘blind’ and cooled before you add the filling, you could make the entire crust a day ahead. If you do that, cover it loosely with plastic wrap once its cooled off.
A clean Pinot Grigio wine bottle is just the right shape for rolling out pastry if you don’t own a rolling pin and you’ll also need one of those fluted, loose-based tart tins measuring about 9ins/23cm across.
You could make this with different stone fruits such as nectarines, peaches or apricots and whereas I think apricots come a very close second, the Italian Prune (Victoria) Plum reigns supreme.
For non-wheat eaters; I’ve also made this with organic spelt flour, with excellent results.
PLUM & ALMOND TART
Ingredients for the pastry crust:
1 and 2/3 cups (400ml measure) of all-purpose (plain) flour
2 tablespoons of fine white sugar
Pinch of salt
1 ¼ sticks (5 oz/142g) of chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Approx 3 tablespoons of iced water
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for the filling:
2 oz (57g) of unsalted butter, softened
2 oz (57g) of sugar
1 large egg at room temp, lightly beaten
2 oz (57g) of ground almonds
1 tablespoon of all-purpose/plain flour
1 tablespoon of Amaretto liqueur
1 ¼ lbs (570g) of Italian prune (Victoria) plums, stoned and quartered
For the glaze:
4 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly and 2 ½ tablespoons of water
Start by making the pastry at least 2 hours ahead. Put the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse. Add the butter and pulse again until it’s the consistency of coarse meal.
Add a couple of tablespoons of water, the egg yolk and vanilla. Pulse until you have big moist clumps, adding a tiny bit more water if it seems too dry.
Carefully scoop out the dough, lightly press it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Chill it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
To make the pie crust, take the dough out of the fridge and allow it to soften slightly. On a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin or your wine bottle, roll the dough out until you have a round that’s approx 14ins/36cm across.
Drape the pastry over your rolling pin/wine bottle and fit it carefully into the tart tin. Cut the overhang to about ¾ inch/2cm and fold that back in, pressing the pastry so that you have about ¼ inch/½ cm poking up above the rim. Prick the base all over with a fork and stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 375F/190C.
Bake the pie crust for 25-30 mins then cool it on a rack.
To bake the tart, the oven needs to be pre-heated to 350F/180C along with a baking sheet.
For the filling – beat the softened butter with the sugar until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk a little at a time, beating well between additions. Finally, beat in the ground almonds, flour and Amaretto.
Spread this into the cooled pastry shell and arrange the quartered plums on top of that, cut sides up.
Put the tart on the preheated baking sheet in the lower third of the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the filling is set and pale gold in color.
Move the tart to the center of the oven for another 10 minutes until the filling has puffed around the fruit and is a lovely golden brown.
Cool the tart on a rack.
Best served at room temperature with a good dollop of crème fraîche, whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.