Fall is in full swing and in this swanky apartment we’re eating…PLUMS !
I know, I know…plums ? Aren’t you supposed to be making pumpkin-themed everything ?
Yes yes, plums ! Pumpkin is so passé* – everyone is devouring pumpkin goods. Time to give those plums a little lovin’ ! Perhaps this post of positively pleasant “P” sounds presents a perfect place for plum pizzazz !
In any case, it is true that plum season extends into early fall – October – and I am, for the first time, taking advantage of this fact. I used to dislike plums. Well, perhaps dislike isn’t the proper term. Ignore may be a better one. Plums were, in a word, strange. Why ? Because they morph into prunes, that’s why. I couldn’t bring myself to eat either fruit. It was strange, therefore, when I walked into Trader Joe’s, saw a “basket” of plums looking for a home, felt spontaneous and snatched them up and POW a memory popped in my head: for my birthday, while in France forever ago, my host dad, Pierre, made me a birthday dessert. Considering my host family and I were not particularly chummy, I was very touched by the gesture. A beautiful, rustic plum tart sat in front of me, paired with a book about Dijon. I can’t believe I’d buried that memory so deep, and it took a basket of unassuming plums to trigger it.
So then I had it. The IDEA. I would make a plum tart for my birthday…hence, here is my birthday “cake” thrown together with little time to spare before a 20s’-themed bash ! As you can tell, from the top picture, it was devoured in record time. It’s a quick fix (if you buy your crust, and I did…I know, tsk tsk) that is pleasantly tart and lightly spiced. This recipe uses a Greek yogurt “custard” topping, but I think, were I to remake it (and there are still a few dusty plums kicking around my cuisine…) I would skip the cream and make the tarte tout simplement avec des prunes.
I used the recipe from Mary Anna Esposita, the woman who taught me more about tomatoes via her great cooking show “Ciao Italia” than I think I needed to know as an 8 year-old.
7 plums, cut into slices
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup greek yogurt (plain)
3 tbsp additional sugar
Preheat the oven to 400F. If you are making your own crust – you are fabulous and better than me this go around. Prepare the crust and place it in a greased tart pan (or pie dish, or quiche pan – whatever you have will probably do). I’d give the crust a little toast before placing the plums, but it is not required and the tart will not combust or fail to cook in time if you don’t.
Slice the plums into fairly thin sections – I made mine into little segments (like a fan, kind of) in order to make the tart look nice. You are welcome to cut the plums in a less careful manner and throw them in the pan. Taste will not be affected. You can’t judge a book by its cover. Right ? Right.
Arrange the plums in concentric circles (if desired) in the bottom of the pie pan. I started in the “middle” and worked my way out.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and the spices, stirring well to combine.
Dust the plums with the sugar mixture – don’t be afraid to really bury them ! As the plums cook and release water, it will mix with the sugar combination to make this wonderful caramel-like substance at the bottom of the tart. It’s delicious with ice cream. Yummmmmm. Top with the juice of the lemon – I just gave that citrus fruit a good squeeze directly overtop the plum and sugar combination.
Place this in the oven until the plums are soft – about 10 minutes – then remove from the oven. You are WELCOME to just eat this as your tart and not continue. It looks so good, I have half a mind to try it like this with my remaining plums….
In another bowl, whisk together the 3 tbsp of sugar, egg yolks, and yogurt. Pour this mixture over the tart, being sure to work from the inside out and try to evenly distribute the custard. Place the tart back into the oven and cook for about 10 more minutes or until the custard has set- you should be able to touch the top and pull a little of the custard out on your finger. It’s sort of in a semi-solid state.
Let the tart cool a little before serving to your hungry party guests !
Bon appétit ! 🙂
*I hold nothing against pumpkin goods…in fact, I’ve been cooking them a lot. I just wanted to be DIFFERENT.