Recipe: Plum and Walnut Tart

SCF fans might say, “What? Another plum tart recipe? The one from Ina Garten isn’t good enough?” Well, indeed it is. But like any curious cook, sometime we like to see what else is out there. Some people might call this philandering. I like to say we’re expanding our horizons.

This recipe is from the queen of desserts, Deborah Madison, in her latest book, “Seasonal Frut Desserts.” It’s got plums, of course, but also orange, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, all of which are very appealing to me.
The recipe is not for people who like very sweet desserts, though. It really counts on you to have super-sweet plums, so if you don’t make this with farmers fruit, you might be pretty disappointed.
Ok, let’s go make it!
I made the tart shell first. it’s very simple: combine flour, sugar, salt and orange zest in the food processor, then add butter, cold water and vanilla and almond extract.

Press it into your tart shell.
Partially bake it for about 20 minutes. Then set about your filling. Grind walnuts.

Use a mortar and pestle to combine brown sugar, spices and orange zest.
Wash and cut your plums.
Toss your sugar-spice mixture with the walnuts —
— then spread 2/3 over the crust.
Place the plums on top of that.
Then cover with the rest of the walnuts.
We found the recipe to be a little too tart, if you’ll pardon the pun. but the former Plum Tart recipe post is on our old blog, so go ahead and make that one, too. And tell us what you think!

Plum and Walnut Tart
“Seasonal Fruit Desserts from Orchard, Farm, and Market” by Deborah Madison

For the tart shell

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated orange, lemon or tangerine zest, when called for

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsealed butter, cut into small chunks

1 tablespoon cold water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and/or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Put the flour, sugar, salt and zest, if using, in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter I broken up into pieces the size of baby peas. Drizzle in water-vanilla mixture and pulse just until moist-looking crumbs have formed.

Gather the crumbs together in a mass. They should stick together. If there is any dry flour left in the bowl, add a few more drops of water to bring it together, then add to the rest of the dough. Shape the dough into a disc about an inch thick and refrigerate. If rolling the dough, refrigerate about 30 minutes.If patting the dough into the pan, put it in the center of the pan and start pressing it out using the heel of your hand.When you get to the edge, begin building the dough up the sides. The walls should be about 1/4-inch thick. Remove the dough that rises over the rim with your fingers and use it to patch another part of the tart that looks thin. Use a finger to make a slightly shallow impression at th base of the rim so that when the dough slides down during baking, it won’t end up too thick at that point. Refrigerate until ready to bake.

If you’ve chosen to roll the dough out, take it out, lightly flour your rolling surface and roll the dough to a 10-inch round. Ease into a 9-inch tart pan without stretching it. Fold and press any excess dough to form the sides about 1/4 inch thick.

To partially baked the crust, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set the pastry-lined tart pan on a sheet pan. Line the tart shell with foil then fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes then carefully pull the foil away from the dough. If the dough sticks, return the shell to the oven for a few minutes, or until the foil comes away with ease. Once you’ve removed the foil and pie weights, return the empty shell to the oven and continue to bake until the crust is clearly set and pale gold, 10 to 15 minutes long. For a fully pre baked shell that will not see the oven again, cook it even longer, another 10 minutes or so until golden brown, like a big cookie.

For the tart

One 9-inch  tart shell, recipe above

1 1/2 pounds medium to large plums, ripe but still firm

4 teaspoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Grated zest of one orange

2/3 cup walnuts, finely ground

Preheat oven to 375. Have the crust partially baked. Slice the plums into wedges a scant 3/8 inch across at the widest part.

Put the sugar, spices and orange zest into a small mortar and work the zest into the sugar to saturate it with orange oil. Toss with the ground walnuts. Scatter 2/3 of the mixture over the crust and arrange the fruit over it. If you’ve no time for or interest in perfecting your arrangement, heap the plums into the tart pan. Otherwise, arrange the fruit in overlapping layers. Scatter the remaining walnut crumbs over the top.

Set the tart on a sheet pan and bake until the plums have started to release their juices, about 35 minutes. Remove and cool until slightly warm. Serve with creme fraiche drizzled over the fruit, or 1/3!cip each whipping cream and creme fraiche wisked together, sweetened with a little honey and a drop of orange flower water.


Comments are closed.