Down from the trees
Even though I didn’t get a vegetable garden in this year, I still have some tasty things in my own back yard: Herbs, mostly done for the season; the raspberries I ate half the summer – and now, a good crop of Italian prune plums from the ancient (and, alas, ivy-infested) tree by the back fence.
I’ve eaten my fill of plums straight from the tree, and now it’s time to do some baking. Plum tarts are easy as can be, and pretty to boot. This is a variation on an ongoing theme, using what I had on hand, and absolutely delicious. You could easily substitute your favorite custard for the simple yogurt preparation – or use more plums and pack them into the crust without a custard base at all for a densely fruity tart.
Backyard Plum Tart
- Pie crust to fill a tart pan. Paté sucree is lovely, but refrigerator-case pie crusts work just fine, too.
- 6-8 plums, washed, pitted and cut in slices
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1/4 cup plus 6 Tbps sugar, divided
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt, drained*
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp almond flavoring (or vanilla, if you prefer)
- 2 Tbps butter, melted
- 1/4 cup apricot preserves (optional, for glaze)
Preheat oven to 400F Roll out pie crust to fit in 13″ tart pan. Prick with a fork and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
While the pie crust is baking, mix 6 Tbsp sugar, ground spices and flour; toss the plum slices in this mixture to coat.
In a bowl, mix drained yogurt, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, egg and flavoring until well blended. Spread on the baked crust. Arrange the spiced plums in concentric circles on top of the yogurt mixture. Drizzle melted butter over the fruit.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until custard is set and the plums are browned and bubbling.
Melt preserves in a small pan and brush over the fruit while still warm.
Serve warm or at room temperature (with or without ice cream!)
* Drained yogurt: Fold a length of cheesecloth and fit inside a strainer, with the excess fabric hanging off the edges. Set strainer over a bowl. Spoon plain yogurt (I like Nancy’s) into the cheese, fold the cheesecloth over the top and put the bowl in the refrigerator to drain for several hours until the yogurt is nice and thick. I often do this with an entire container of yogurt and use the resulting “yogurt cheese” as a tangy substitute for cream cheese.