Friday, October 14, 2011

Plum Almond Streusel Tart

Plums signal the end of stone fruit for the spring and summer seasons. We have definitely arrived at the brink of fall as our thoughts turn to bundling up against the wind and preparing heartier food for our tables.

I love plums for their tart juiciness and their bright sensational color. They are wonderful in pies, tarts, galettes, compotes, ice cream and sorbet. They pair well with creams and custards and enjoy a garnish of nuts and spice.

For this plum pastry, I start with an almond pastry dough formed into a tart shell and pre-baked. The plums are sliced into chunky bites and combined with a bit of sugar and flour. The tart is then crowned with a simple brown sugar cinnamon streusel loaded with almonds to create a nutty flavor and textural contrast with the fruit. It’s a very simple and straightforward dessert, perfect for this time of year. Time to bundle up with some delicious plums!

Bench notes:
- Choose ripe plums that are firm to the touch.
- You can make the streusel ahead of time and store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
- When rolling dough that has been chilled, let it sit for a few minutes to warm up a bit. As you begin to roll it out, if it’s cracking, it’s still too cold. Wait a couple more minutes and try again. The dough should still be cool but roll out smoothly without resistance.
-If you have a bench scraper, now is a good time to use it. As you roll out the dough, use a light smattering of flour as you gently lift the dough after each roll to prevent sticking. If you feel the slightest resistance, use your scraper to gently release the dough and apply more flour. Rotate the dough to ensure evenness. Try to work fairly quickly to avoid warming the butter. When the dough is rolled out to the desired shape and size, use a pastry brush to remove excess flour.
- Be careful not to stretch the dough when lining the tart shell. That will cause shrinkage. If the dough cracks or tears while you’re handling it, just use any leftover scraps to press into the crack to patch it up.
- If you don’t care to roll out the tart dough, try pressing it into the tart pan right after mixing. Just be sure the dough is evenly distributed and pressed to the same thickness throughout.
- Once the tart shell is formed in the tart pan, place it in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled before baking.
- This tart is nice served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or sweetened crème fraiche.

Plum Almond Streusel Tart
Serves 10

Almond Tart Dough

1/3 C almonds
1/3 C confectioner’s sugar
1 1/4 C flour
1/4 t salt
3 1/2 oz (7 T) cold butter, cut into 1/2” pieces
1 egg
1/4 t vanilla

Almond Streusel

1/2 C + 2 T flour
1/4 C brown sugar, firmly packed
1 T granulated sugar
1/8 t salt
1/4 t – 1/2 t cinnamon, to taste
2 oz (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2” pieces
1/2 C + 2 T sliced almonds

6 – 8 medium sized black plums
1/4 C sugar
1 T flour

To make the tart dough, place the almonds, confectioner’s sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Add the 1/2” pieces of butter and pulse the ingredients just few times until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the egg and the vanilla and process just a few seconds to blend. As soon as the mixture starts to come together in clumps, stop. Do not overmix.

Gather the dough and place on a piece of plastic wrap. Form a compact flattened disc, wrap tightly and chill for at least 2 hours.

When you’re ready to roll out the dough, remove from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper or work surface. Let it rest for 3 – 4 minutes so it can soften just a bit to prevent cracking. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour and roll out to a round shape about 12” in diameter, large enough to line a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom. Keep the work surface and dough lightly floured as needed and gently lift and move the dough after each roll. When you have the desired shape, brush off any excess flour, lift the dough into the pan and shape it to fit closely into all the contours of the pan. Trim any excess. Chill for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the bottom of the tart shell several times with the tines of a fork.

Bake the tart shell for about 18 to 23 minutes or just until it has taken on a bit of color. Check halfway through the baking and prick the bottom once again if needed. Transfer to a rack to cool.

For the streusel, combine the flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon. Add the cold butter and work it in with your fingers until all the ingredients are moist. Add the sliced almonds and combine the mixture until there are both small and large crumbles. The streusel should be chunky rather than fine to add texture. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Cut the plums in half and remove pits. Coarsely chop the plums into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Combine the sugar and flour and toss with the plums to coat evenly. Pour into the pre-baked tart shell and distribute evenly. Sprinkle with streusel.

Place the tart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the streusel has browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.


Victoria said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. This looks delicious, and I can for sure get good plums. They may be Italian prune plums, but I'm sure they will be as good as this looks!

From your apricot deprived friend.

pastry studio said...

Hey apricot deprived friend, glad to help! Plums are fast becoming my fall fruit favorite. They are plentiful now and so juicy and perfectly tart. Cheers!

anno said...

Some renegade winds blew through here the other day, leaving moody skies and cooler temperatures in their wake. This tart looks like the perfect accompaniment. Thank you!

Deb said...

What an irresistible tart! I adore plums, with their tangy skin and luscious interiors. There were lots of plums at the Farmer's Market this week. But I'm going to have to act quickly or my opportunity to try your sumptuous tart will vanish into autumn!

Javelin Warrior said...

This looks delicious and I love that it's not essential to roll out the dough for the pan. Now I must get myself to a kitchen supply store and snatch up a tart pan :)

Valérie-jeanne said...

I do love plums! Thanks for this one.