Rustic Plum Tart

I had to make this tart twice within the space of 24 hours because my family polished off the first one and clamored for more, especially my mom which is saying a lot because she usually passes on "western" desserts which are too sweet for her tastebuds.

Fortunately, it was not a problem, since this tart is a cinch to make. No need to roll out the dough. It is simply pressed over the bottom of the pan. While baking, the dough puffs up to envelop the plums. The second time around, it only took me 20 minutes of prep time (see Notes below) and then into the oven it went!

Notes: After making it the first time, I streamlined the pitting process. I was using clingstone Santa Rosa plums and having a heck of a time removing the pits while maintaining the integrity of the plum half. Instead, I took to slicing along each side of the pit, much like slicing a mango. It also helped to slice three-quarters of the way down on each side first before cutting all the way through. Having a whole plum cupped in the palm of my hand made it much easier to handle.

Rustic Plum Tart
Adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
Makes one 9" tart

Preheat oven to 375°F (350°F for a glass pie plate). Generously butter a tart pan (or cake pan or pie plate).

In a medium bowl, sift together:
1 cup all-purpose flour (128g)
3/4 cup sugar (150g)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

Using a pastry blender or a fork or two knives, cut into the flour mixture until there is no dry flour showing :
3 tbsp firm unsalted butter, cut into a few cubes
1 large egg, lightly whisked

Scatter the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan and press down gently. Do not press the dough up the sides of the pan.

"Pit" plums by slicing along each side of the pit similar to slicing a mango (see Notes above). If the plums are no bigger than 2 inches in diameter, place the plum halves cut side up on top of the dough leaving a little space between each one and leaving a margin of 1/2 inch around the perimeter of the pan.

If plums are larger, quarter the halves and place skin side up, pushing the wedges slightly into the dough so they don't turn while baking.

Bake on a rack in the lower third of the oven until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 45 minutes. For a crunchier pastry, bake a little longer till a deep golden brown at the edges, 50-55 minutes.

Set tart on rack to cool for 10 minutes. If you used a tart pan, loosen the rim before cooling further. Serve warm or at room temperature. Unadorned, it's a delicious hand-held snack. Plated, you can gussy it up with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop (or two!) of plum ice cream. Mmmm!

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