This beauty was a looker before it even went in the oven, and was more so when it came out! The base was unlike other tart crust I have had. Not to sweet, with a lovely crumb that was more similar to a nutty sponge than a traditional tart shell. It was scrummy. With a bit of whipped cream, it really was spot on. Speaking of spots… good thing I am a master at hiding away the messes my brother and I used to create (practice from back in the day, haha! just kidding bruv) for the tart definitely got a love dent from a rampant backpack on our trip with the tart…but we mended it all the same and went over with a real bang. I can’t wait to try this with other fruits… what do you think of quince?!
(Adapted from Pure Dessert: By Alice Medrich)
1/2 cup whole almonds
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/8 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp firm (not hard or frozen) unsalted butter
4 to 6 medium plums, or 12 small italian plums
*Notes: Other pitted fruits would work too. Also, you will need a tart pan with a removable bottom, and the fluting just looks so much more gorgeous!
Pre-heat oven to 375F with a rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Butter tart pan well, and set aside. In a food processor (or small processor attachment to an immersion blender, like I have) combine almonds, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and process until well minced and combined. Add flour and baking powder, if using a normal food processor, and pulse again, or, if like me you have a mini one, add the almond mixture to the flour and baking powder in a large bowl, mix to combine. Add the butter pieces, and then the egg, until the mixture is “damp” (no dry flour anywhere) and is starting to be able to stick together to form little clumps (more like wet sand on a beach, not dry sand). Press the dough into the tart pan around the bottom and sides in an even layer.
Zest a lemon, and sprinkle zest onto dough. To prepare the plums, cut up the plums depending on size, into pieces about 1 inch long, and remove the pits. Leaving 1/2 of room around the “rim” and a teensy bit of space between each piece, place the plums in a pattern of your choice on the dough(circles work quite well), skin side up. Press them slightly into dough to make sure they don’t turn over in baking(tricky little things).
Place tart in the oven and bake until the pastry is puffed, dark golden brown at the edges, and a lovely golden color between the pieces of fruit, about 40 to 45 minutes (I would check at 35 minutes).Let slightly cool, and eat.
Tip: If a bit of fruit syrup collects in the center of the tart, use a knife tip to spread it over the fruit and give it a little shine.