Friday, October 3, 2008
Though this recipe has tart in the title, it's a lot heftier than the tarts I'm used to; it's really more of a pie. I baked mine in a springform pan and so the final product was the size of a cheesecake! It had quite the grand presence; I enjoyed just staring at it. :)
You may recall that I wrote a post back in May about two cookbooks that are out of print now and worth a small fortune. This Country Plum Tart comes from one of those two books: The Best of Betterbaking.com by Marcy Goldman, a veritable master baker and one of my heroes. Perhaps that makes this recipe worth a very small fortune, but alas, it can be found on Amazon in the "preview this book" section. And speaking of Amazon, you should buy this book. Just be prepared to pay upwards of $120.
The tart was fun and easy to make, and tasted great. It also involved an interesting technique for the dough I had never seen before. The dough is prepared, then divided in two, and one disk goes in the freezer, the other in the fridge. Now, I'm used to chilling my dough before rolling or pressing it into a pan, but freezing the dough? That's because the frozen half gets shredded on a box grater and then the shredded dough is scattered on top of the plum filling. I'll be the first to admit it was a little challenging to shred a really cold block of dough. But it worked, and looked neat, and put the "country" in Country Plum Tart.
Country Plum Tart
Recipe by the GREAT Marcy Goldman in The Best of Betterbaking.com
Makes 1 tart; serves 8 to 10
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 pounds small plums, quartered and pitted
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon raspberry or plum vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)
Lightly grease a deep 9- or 10-inch quiche pan with a removable bottom, or a 10-inch pie pan or tart. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
For the pastry, combine the flour, butter, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a course meal. Make a well in the center and add the cream, sugar, and salt. Stir to make a rough mass. If the dough seems too dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead very gently for a few seconds to smooth out the dough. Divide the dough in half, form each half into a disk, and wrap well in plastic. Put one half in the refrigerator and the other in the freezer for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.
For the filling, combine all ingredients and toss to blend.
Remove both doughs from the refrigerator and freezer. Roll out the refrigerated dough into a 10-inch round to fit the bottom of the pan, then roll out and press the scraps into the sides of the pan and trim the edges. Mount the filling in the pastry shell.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using the large holes of a box grater, shred the remaining dough into a bowl. If the dough is too cold to work with, let it warm for 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle the shredded dough over the fruit.
Place the pan on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the juices begin to bubble and the dough is lightly browned. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. If using a pan with a removable bottom, remove the pan sides and slide the tart onto a serving plate.
Before serving, dust with a generous amount of confectioners' sugar.
Step-by-Step in Pictures