Plum Tart With Cornmeal Pastry
- Servings: 8.
Fresh plums are one of fall's best rewards with flavors that combine sweet and tangy, making them a perfect centerpiece for a simple fruit tart.
This tart uses an old-fashioned cornmeal pastry dough that has a satisfying texture and is easy to make in a food processor. No rolling pin is necessary as the dough is simply pressed into a tart pan with your fingers and the flat bottom of a measuring cup.
You can use any fresh plums to make this tart and the number you'll need will depend upon their size, although 2 pounds is usually about right. If you choose tiny, dark blue Italian plums you'll cut these in half, removing the pit and trimming out any remains of the stem. If you choose larger red or yellow plums, cut these into thirds or quarters after pitting and trimming them. It's also fine to have a mix which makes for a pretty, and multi-colored appearance. No matter which kind of plums you use, the goal is to have all the pieces be about the same size.
Use yellow cornmeal, the kind you use to make cornbread. Its coarse texture will add an appealing texture to the pastry dough and its color will add visual appeal to the finished tart.
Finally, the bottom of a flat measuring cup is a perfect tool to help distribute and press the crumbly dough into the tart pan. Use it to flatten the bottom and also press the dough into the crimps of the tart pan's edges.
This recipe can also be used to make four individual 4-inch tarts. Follow the recipe exactly, although you may need a little more sugar to sprinkle on the fruit-filled tarts.
- 8 to 10 fresh plums, about 2 pounds; enough to make 3 cups when cut into halves or quarters
- 8 tablespoons sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (not flavoring)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Cut and pit the plums but do not peel them. Cut small plums in half and larger plums into quarters. Use a paring knife to cut out any remaining pieces of stem or pit. Place in a large mixing bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the sugar.
- In a small bowl use a fork to gently combine the egg yolk and the vanilla extract. Hold aside.
- In the basket of a food processor combine 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Pulse several times to combine.
- Scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients in the food processor and add the egg yolk and vanilla mixture, using a spatula to capture all the yolk. Process for about 20 to 30 seconds until the ingredients are combined and soft dough starts to form. It will be crumbly and clumpy and not form a single ball as with pie dough.
- Transfer all the dough into a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. There is no need to grease the pan in advance. Using your fingers and the bottom of a dry measuring cup as a flat surface, spread and pat down the dough evenly throughout the pan, along its bottom and up the sides to the top edge of the pan. Make sure that the center of the tart is not too thick and that the pastry dough has been evenly distributed.
- Set the pastry-filled tart pan on a baking sheet or sheet pan.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden in color and the bottom of the tart puffs a little bit. Make sure that the center of the tart has cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 350° F. Use a spatula to flatten any puffiness in the pastry. Transfer the plums to the pastry-lined pan, arranging them in a single layer; skin-side up or down doesn't really matter for the cooking but having a mix makes for a prettier appearance.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the fruit is tender. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the fruit and continue to bake for another 15 minutes until the plums are juicy and completely tender, the skin has begun to shrivel, and the edges of the pastry is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes and then remove the tart from its frame; if you leave the tart in its frame for too long it becomes difficult to remove.
- Serve while still warm or at room temperature.