Monday, August 25, 2008

plum flame tart

Furthering my attempt to make a least one dessert with each fruit as it comes into season, I made the Plum Flame Tart from The Pie and Pastry Bible. It's so cute and yummy. I don't remember ever seeing an Italian Prune Plum (or Zwetschgen as they are called here) back in CA. But in Switzerland, you can't escape them. Every store has mountains of these little juicy orbs. I love them. I didn't get great pics because I made it for a party and I was in a rush. I only took pics before baking, thus the green, instead of after baking, which was much more purple. I really liked it and would definitely make again.

Anyhoo, I particularly like this pie because it's a cinch to make. Whip up your favorite Pate Sucree (I've included the one I used below), pre-bake it, dust with cornstarch, quarter the plums, line them up in circles, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, bake, glaze, done! I have the details below. I did make a few mistakes:

- the recipe said "sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg", which I did in that order. I thought about mixing them together first, but I decided to follow a literal interpretation of the recipe. This meant there was a not so attractive, visible dusting of cinnamon on the tops of the plums. I'm definitely mixing them together next time before sprinkling.
- in my haste to get to the party, I forgot to glaze it with apricot preserves. This would have made it even prettier and slightly sweeter, which it needed.
- I should have pre-baked the crust a little longer. The instructions said to under-pre-bake so the crust was still a little soft so you can press the plums into it. I thought the crust was underbaked and a little soggy. So I'm doing the full pre-bake next time.

The recipes below are adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Barenbaum

Pâte Sucrée
In a food processor, process 8 TB butter and 1/4 cup sugar about 15 times until sugar disappears. Add 1.5 cups AP flour and 1/8 tsp salt and pulse again 15 times until butter is no larger than small peas. In a small bowl, stir together 1 large egg yolk and 2 TB cream. Add to mixture and pulse just until incorporated, about 8 times. Empty dough onto the counter and knead briefly until it sticks together. Flatten into 6-in disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 10-30 mins. Roll chilled dough out into 11-in circle, about 1/8-in thick. Place in buttered and floured 9.5-in tart pan and freeze for 2 hours. Pre-bake shell, without pie weights, at 425F for 5 mins, prick the puffy parts with a fork, lower heat to 375F and cook 10-15 mins until golden and set, but soft to the touch.

Plum Flame Tart
Preheat over to 350F. Wash, seed and quarter 2 pounds of Italian prune plums. Sprinkle the crust with 1 tsp cornstarch. Starting at the outside edge, arrange the plums in a circle so that they stand upright, with one pointed end pressing into the base of the crust, the other pointed end up, and the skin side leaning against the side of the crust. Continue in concentric circles, fitting in as many plums as possible. Mix together 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg and sprinkle over plums. Bake 45 mins until crust is golden brown and plums are fork tender. Remove to rack to cool. Heat 1/3 cup apricot preserves in small saucepan until melted and bubbling. Strain into small cup. Cool until no longer hot. Brush plums with melted apricot preserves. Garnish pie with whipped cream. Can be stored at room temp or refrigerated, up to 2 days.


Julie Ramsay said...

looks yummy! I love zwetchgen!

SwissMiss said...

That looks so pretty! I bet it would be fine without sugar/preserves, too. :-)

Jenna said...

It was so good. I wish we would have taken a picture at the baby shower. The baked tips of the plums were really cool looking. It was tart and perfect.

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