Red Plum Portrait Tart
Okay, I won’t start off this post with a lie – I’ve never particularly been a fan of plums. My perspective has always been that they are a tart, mushy, and less appealing alternative to two of my favourite fruits – peaches and nectarines – and therefore should remain squarely on the periphery of my culinary repertoire. But one of the purposes of this blog is to find and share recipes that are unique and innovative, and if not necessarily out of your regular cooking routine, at least mine! So I gave this tart a try as part of monthly ‘tea time’ posting…
I learned two important things as a result. Firstly, plums aren’t that bad. They aren’t nearly as tart as I remember, and they hold up quite well as part of a dish that requires a great degree of assembly. Secondly, if I were to make this tart again, I would probably use nectarines. This isn’t to say that the plums tasted poorly, I just happen to think the fresh orange peel and almond extract in the base would more ideally suit the flavor of nectarines than that of plums. I suppose the ultimate lesson is this: if you really like plums, this tart is delicious. But if you aren’t crazy about them, it would still be worth your while to give this recipe a try using another type of fruit – as overall I quite enjoyed its flavor, and its appearance is absolutely beautiful.
RED PLUM PORTRAIT TART
Serves: 8 to 10
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp grated fresh orange peel
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 to 1 1/4 pounds fresh, firm-ripe red-skinned plums
1 to 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
Freshly whipped cream, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour an 11-inch tart pan with removable rim.
2. Cut butter into small pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 1/2 cup caster sugar and beat on high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes.
3. Add orange peel, almond extract, salt and eggs. Stir to mix, then beat on high speed until well blended and smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 cup flour and stir to mix, then beat on high speed to blend.
4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread level.
5. Rinse plums, cut in half, and pit. Cut fruit into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Overlap all the slices on batter and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons caster sugar.
6. Bake until batter is lightly browned and tart begins to pull away from pan sides, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes on a wire rack. Dust with sifted confectioner’s sugar. Remove pan rim, set on a serving plate, and slice. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, if desired.