Monday, September 24, 2012

Friendly Neighborhood Tart

For the past month or six weeks, ripe plums have been rolling down the hill from one of my uphill neighbors. They have two plum trees and this year the branches are so loaded with fruit that six or eight ripe ones drop off the trees and tumble down the hill every day to be squashed by passing cars. 

I finally remembered to ask that neighbor if she minded if I picked some of the fruit before it became road kill and she gladly assented. These two trees make far more than even her family of five can consume.

So, one pretty morning, Cora and I walked up there, let ourselves into their back yard while they were at work, and picked a nice tart worth of little round, blushing plums.

I use Star Dough for most pies and tarts. I know how to make pie dough and for years I made my own, but I was converted as soon as I tasted Star Dough. I love that it's easy and delicious, made with fresh ingredients and, by the way, made locally. The company headquarters is right here in Point Richmond. Star Dough comes two to a package, all rolled out between two sheets of clear plastic, enough for a covered pie, or two tarts. Here in the Bay area, you can usually find it in the freezer section near the other frozen doughs.

So, unrolling and fitting the dough to the tart pan with a removable bottom was the work of a minute. I put the shell back in the fridge to stay cold while I halved, pitted and sliced the fruit. 

This pretty way of slicing the fruit was suggested to me by a post on the blog La Tartine Gourmande. I didn't follow Bea's recipe since we don't have to eat gluten free, but I loved the way her tarts look, like those big, fluffy chrysanthemums that women used to wear to football games back in the '30s and '40s, so I stole that idea. All you do to achieve that effect is cut each plum half almost in half again, keeping a connector at the bottom. When placed in the tart shell, it will naturally separate into "petals."

I pulled out the tart shell, sprinkled about a tablespoon of coarse blond sugar evenly over the bottom, then placed the fruit and sprinkled about a teaspoon of vanilla sugar over the top. Into a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes and what emerged was beautifully tipped with black in places. I let it cool, then cut generous wedges.

It was sweet and tart at the same time - I love how these plums have a tang almost like apricots. I cut a couple of slices for my neighbors, too. I'll be back to pick more plums before summer ends and they are all gone for another year.


Blogger Greg said...

Nice! Sweet tooth just kicked in. Also I just realized that if I click on your photo it gives me a enlarged view. Who knew?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012  
Blogger katiez said...

Next summer, when (and hopefully, we will) we have lots of plums I'll make this... Very pretty. My plums are small, though - I use a cherry pitter then leave them whole

Tuesday, September 25, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, yes, I love enlarging the photos - shows detail better and is more like I think the author wants you to see it.

Katiez, these were tiny, too, no larger than a big cherry tomato. Mine were too ripe for a cherry pitter, but the pits came out pretty easily and I needed to cut them in half anyway to make this effect.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012  

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