• Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Medium

The first time I made this tart, a version with apricots from one of my favourite dessert blogs, Pastry Studio – I wasn’t really sure how it would turn out. It just so happened to be one of the best things to ever emerged from my oven. This is exactly the sort of dessert you should be serving up this summer. It looks like one of those very elaborate confections you might pick up in a Parisian patisserie, but involves a fraction of the effort, no faffing around rubbing butter into flour to make pastry, or whisking endlessly to create pastry cream. It involves very little hands-on time, but will undoubtedly elicit delight from your guests.

I’ve made it a few times now, but this plum version is particularly spectacular. I’ve tweaked the original recipe a little, using spelt flour for a deliciously nutty biscuit crust, adding more crème fraiche, and scattering over some flaked almonds and demerara sugar for crunch as the tart bakes. When I found these gorgeous little plums in the market the other day, I knew this would be the best way to use them. Plums and almonds have a natural affinity; the almost marzipan-esque taste of the almond filling offsets the tart fruit perfectly.

The pastry case is made in an unconventional way. Adding melted butter to flour and mixing to form a dough, instead of rubbing the butter in as is traditional –so much easier. You end up with something rather like a giant biscuit, buttery and crunchy. It stays crisp and crunchy, and scattering almonds across the bottom before adding the filling ensures there’’s no soggy bottom. I like to grind fresh almonds for this, as you end up with a much better texture and flavour, but you can of course use packaged ground almonds to save time.

 

here's what you'll need...

For the pastry:

  • 115g butter, melted
  • 40g light muscovado sugar
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 180g spelt flour
  • 2 tbsp almonds

For the filling:

  • 150g half-fat crème fraiche
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp good quality honey (I like lavender)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 400g plums
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar

plum tart ingredients 1

 

tip

You could try hazelnuts instead of the almonds, if you like, or play around with the fruit. I think any stone fruit would work well, as would raspberries or gooseberries.

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set oven temp: 200C/gas mark 6

here's how it's done...

  • 1

    Pre-heat the oven to 200C (180C fan). In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar.

    plum tart step 1

  • 2

    Add the extracts, salt and flour and mix until you get a soft dough.

    plum tart step 2

  • 3

    Grease an 8 or 9 inch loose-bottomed tart tin, then press the dough into the base and sides of the tin with the back of a spoon to form an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.

    plum tart step 3

  • 4

    In a small food processor, blitz the almonds to fine crumbs. Scatter across the base of the tart tin.

    plum tart step 5

  • 5

    In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraiche, egg, extracts, honey and cornflour.

    plum tart step 4

  • 6

    Pour into the pastry case. Halve and stone the plums (quarter them if they’’re large) then arrange over the filling.

    plum tart step 6

  • 7

    Scatter with the flaked almonds and then with the demerara sugar.

    plum tart step 7

  • 8

    Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the filling has set and is starting to turn golden. Remove and leave to cool before serving.

    plum tart post image 1

    Because you have cream and pastry already baked in, you don’’t really need ice cream or cream with this, but I do think a stone fruit version would be lovely served with a dollop of extra crème fraiche and some fresh summer berries.

 

By Elly McCausland on 18.08.14

Guest Contributor

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