Rustic Plum Tart - A Foraged Treat ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rustic Plum Tart - A Foraged Treat

It's plum season here in the East Bay and the trees are putting out a riot of small yellow, red and purple orbs. As a result, the sidewalks in my neighborhood are a sticky mosaic of smeared patches and tiny dried pits from the fallen fruits.

I took a walk in the Oakland hills with some friends a few days ago and came home with a bucketful of foraged plums. Aren't they gorgeous? I love the mix of colors from the different trees.

Close Up of Bowl of Foraged Plums by Eve Fox copyright 2009
Each variety (and I have to admit that I have no idea what the varieties are) has a slightly different taste and texture but they all have that smooth, dusky skin, followed by juicy sweetness that is tempered by a little sour bite. These foraged plums are definitely "petite" which makes them a bit more work to pit, but they're definitely worth the effort.
Rustic Plum Tart Close Up By Eve Fox copyright 2000
I was inspired to make this tart by a recipe in On Rue Tatin, a wonderful book about food and life in France, written by Susan Hermann Loomis. Her recipe called for nectarines but it works equally well with either plums or peaches. I find the process of making a free form tart extremely fun and satisfying -- somehow it feels way more creative than making something like a pie. Hope that you enjoy this lovely taste of summer.
Rustic Plum Tart by Eve Fox copyright 2009
Rustic Plum Tart
Serves 6


* 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus a bit more to flour your work surface
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 10 Tbsps (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 3 - 6 Tbsps ice water

Fruit Filling

* 1 pound plums (or peaches , nectarines, or apricots)
* 5 Tbsps granulated sugar
* 1 tsp of corn starch
* 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
* 1 Tbsp granulated sugar for sprinkling


1. Make the dough. In a food processor, pulse flour and salt a few times to combine well. Scatter the pieces of butter over the flour, then pulse until the texture resembles coarse corn meal and the butter pieces are about the size of small peas (will probably take 12-15 pules). Sprinkle the mixture with 1 tablespoon of the ice water and process for 1-2 seconds; repeat until the dough begins to form into small clumps and holds together when you pinch it with your fingers. Turn the dough out onto a smooth, floured work surface. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, you can add a bit more water but add water sparingly -- you can always add more but you can't take any back... Kneed the dough with the heel of your hand until it is cohesive and seems workable (but don't overdo it or the crust will be tough.) Form the dough into a 4-inch disk, wrap it waxed paper or put it in a plastic bag (I hate Saran wrap but you can also use that), and refrigerate it until cold and firm but still workable, about 1 hour.

2. While the dough is chilling, prepare the fruit for the filling. Halve and pit the fruit and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Combine fruit in medium bowl (you should have about 3 cups) and set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Using a floured rolling pin on a floured surface or a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the dough to make a 12-inch round about 1/4 inch thick. Slide the dough carefully onto a baking stone, insulated baking sheet or just a plain old pie dish (this was my solution) and set aside for a minute. If the dough has gotten too warm while you were working with it, put it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool down. Or if it feels too cold and stiff, leave it out to soften a tiny bit while you finish up with the filling.

4. Sprinkle fruit with sugar, lemon juice and corn starch and toss gently to combine. Mound the fruit in the center of the circle of dough, leaving 2 1/2-inch border around edge. Carefully grasp one edge of dough and fold up outer 2 inches over fruit, leaving 1/2-inch area of dough just inside of fold free of fruit. Repeat around circumference of tart, overlapping dough every 2 to 3 inches; gently pinch pleated dough to secure, but do not press dough into fruit. When you've finished pleating, brush the dough with water and sprinkle the whole thing evenly with 1 tablespoon of sugar.

5. Bake until the crust is deep golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 50 to 55 minutes. If you baked the tart on a baking stone or cookie sheet, carefully slide it onto a wire rack and cool slightly before cutting into wedges and serving (hint, hint: this goes very well with ice cream...)

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arugulove said...

This looks really good. I've got a ton of stone fruits in my fridge from Eatwell, so I may try to make this this weekend. Thanks!

maybelle's mom said...

I agree that making a freeform tart is very satisfying. lovely tart.

Alicia said...

Plums just bring back the memories. My mom makes an open face Italian plum & peach cake that I'd walk through fire for.
This one may be my dessert this weekend.

Lynn said...

I've also read On Rue Tatin. Her descriptions of food, events and such transport me to dream land! Mouthwatering tart, thanks for sharing.

Lauren said...

Nice urban foraging! There was one of those trees in my San Francisco backyard until a neighbor complained to my landlord that the roots were starting to drill into their house.

The closest ID I was able to find on this fruit was "wild cherry plums."

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this recipe. I will make it tomorrow... Have been looking for this for years..I had
it in a restaurant in Formentera, Spain yrs ago and
have been dreaming of it ever since!
thanks de

Amelia PS said...

looks yummy!
i made mine a torte: