PLUM “ROSE” TARTS
I am not going to wax poetic about the change of season. Or am I? We bloggers tend to do that. I will say however that summer seems to be retreating and fall is in the air. The mornings are cool, the sun sets early, the days are shorter. A trip to the farmers market makes you wonder where the green beans and summer berries go. Apples and pear are piled on the stands now and even winter squash is already here. How did it happen? Where did the summer go?
I am reflecting on the summer months that passed. Did I make the most of it? Did I cook enough with peas? with slender green beans? new potatoes? did I lounge enough in the hammock this summer? spent enough time with friends? went on enough sailing? Chilled with enough books? sat enough on the patio long into the warm evenings? I answer yes to some and no to others. Life tends to be that way.
This time of year brings out nostalgia in me, a little reflection. I am not ready to let go of my beautiful herbs on the rooftop patio, where I can step outside and pick any fresh herb for the dishes I am making. Or letting the hydrangeas go, put away the hammock and the swing, the outdoor furniture, close down my beautiful and fun outdoor kitchen.
Thankfully, I have a little more time before all this happens. The change is more gradual and I’ll make the adjustment. I will soon get excited about the change of season and the new produce it brings to the market. Soups will be simmering in the kitchen, pasta will bake in the oven with gooey cheese melting on top, the fireplace will be lit. I will pull out my favourite knitwear and ankle boots, my signature shawls and bold jewelry. I will change with the season.
In the meantime though I’d like to make the most of what’s left of the season. Plums have been in for a while and I haven’t used them much except for eating. I bought a flat full of beautiful reddish and purple plums and thought I’d make plum tarts with some, plum jam with the rest. In the end, I used the plum jam to spoon into the unbaked shells, arranged the plum decoratively on top and baked until done. If you don’t want to cook the plum jam feel free to use a good quality plum jam from the store.
Since I am cooking mostly for two there is no point making large tarts so I opt for the smaller tart pans and make a few individual tarts instead of one large one. If you wish to make one tart, go ahead. The dough is enough for two 8 inch tarts or about 10 smaller ones. If you only use half the dough, you can wrap and freeze the rest until needed.
Plums for topping the tarts
2 1/3 cups flour + more for rolling
1 cup butter, ice cold, cut into smallish pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/3 cup ice water
Place flour, sugar, salt in a food processor and pulse a few times.
Add the cold butter and pulse a few times.
Begin adding the ice water processing on low until the mixture begins to pull together. Do not over process and don’t let it form a ball of dough. It will still be loose.
Scrape the dough onto a sheet of parchment and pull the dough together into a disk, adding a little flour as necessary to help it from being too sticky.
Wrap in the the parchment, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate until firm.
packed 4 cups halved plums
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Cooke the plums with the sugar and lemons until the plums break down and the mixture thickens.
Remove the tart dough from the fridge and cut in half.
Working with half the dough at a time roll it into a thin circle, about 1/8 inch thick.
Arrange the tart pan close together, lift the dough with the rolling pin and lower it over the tart shells.
Ease the dough intoi the shells, then run the rolling pin over to cut it along the edges of the tart pans.
Gently push the dough into each tart pan.
Refrigerate, wrapped, until cold again.
When you are ready to proceed remove the tarts from the refrigerator and spoon enough jam to cover the bottom of each tart.
Cut the plums in half and cut each half into very thin slices.
Arrange the plum slices beginning from the outside in a concentric design, overlapping the slices as you go. Don’t pack them against the outer edges to prevent the filling from spilling over. Ideally you should see the pastry around the filling once the tarts are baked.
Roll the last slice in the middle of the tart.
Place the tarts on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400F oven for about 30-40 minutes or until done.
Remove and let cool before removing them from the tart pan.
Serve at room temperature.