What I’ve discovered about my seasonal aversion to cooking is that it’s mysteriously nonexistent during the day. The problem is that I’m usually at work during the non-evening hours and unless I want to get really crafty with a microwave and Ikea knife it’s hard to take advantage of what little food related inspiration I’m currently working with.
This weekend we laid low, venturing out for a visit to the farmers market and a brief bit of retail therapy. Brock really needs some new clothes and if the moment strikes him I MUST take advantage immediately or it will be another 6 months before he lets even his pinky toe cross the threshold of a clothing store.
And if we’re buying for him, well then mama needs a few new things too. It’s nice how that works out.
ANYWAY. The cooking. I really wanted to commemorate Julia Child’s birthday on Saturday with a French inspired dinner of ratatouille from backyard ingredients and a lovely green salad with perfectly mixed dressing, but dinner preparation remained elusive. Instead I woke up Sunday morning and decided to assume my role as a proper wife and keeper of house by making a delicious treat for breakfast.
I found these gorgeous little Golden Nectar plums (and their tiny purple cousins) at the farmer’s market and while I love plums on their own, I find their sweet and sourness makes for even better desserts. I mean breakfasts.
At which point I went straight for my veritable bible of all things baked, Pure Dessert. I think I’ve posted recipes from this beauty before and I swear it has never once failed me. Alice Medrich is a demi-goddess when it comes to the combining of flour and sugar and fruits and things.
This recipe is so simple it seems that it can’t possibly yield anything worth writing about, but as I’ve proven to myself many times, I know much less than I think when it comes to the mysteries of baking.
Rustic Plum Tart
(Alice swears by weighing your dry ingredients as opposed to measuring, and it is actually a lot easier and apparently more exact. But I’m sure that both ways work fine).
1 cup (4.5 oz) all purpose flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly whisked
3 tablespoons firm but not hard unsalted butter, cut into a few chunks
4 – 6 juicy flavorful plums (I used more because mine were so small). The sweet and sour kinds. French and Italian prune plums aren’t tangy enough for this recipe.
*special equipment – 9 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. If you don’t have this you should totally get one. They make desserts so pretty. But you can also use a plain cake pan in a pinch.
Preheat oven to 375°
For the crust:
(assuming you’re using a food processor… if not you can use a pastry blender or large fork. And then add a food processor to your amazon wishlist and hope that someone gets you one soon).
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the egg and butter and pulse just until the mixture resembles damp yellow sand and starts to clump around the blade.
Press the dough evenly around the bottom of the pan, making sure to fill the pretty little scallops of your tart pan if you’re using one.
If they’re small, cut them in half and remove the pits. Slice larger plums into quarters or sixths. Leaving a 1/2 inch margin around the edge of the pan arrange the halved plums cut side up evenly around the dough, leaving a little space between each one. Now fill in the spaces with your smaller slices (cut side down this time), pressing all the plums lightly into the dough so they stay put as the tart rises during baking.
Bake until the edges are a deep golden brown, about 50 – 55 minutes. My oven is from the 40′s and is not a perfect candidate for baking because it has major temperature control issues. Which means the my edges tend to get brown well before the center is done. I had to stick a knife into the center a few times to make sure the crust was cooked through.
Set the tart on a rack to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the rim of the tart pan to let it cool further.
I served our tart with a spoonful of greek yogurt and honey. Divine.