Monday, October 11, 2010

Easy Plum Tart

My parents brought me back a box of produce from Green Bluff Farms the last time they visited Eastern Washington.  There were apples, pears, and  a large handful of small, almond-shaped Italian plums.  I've been working my way through the apples and pears - a wedge of sharp cheddar cheese and a sliced-up apple is one of my favorite snacks on a crisp October day - but I was a bit stumped as to what to do with the plums.

When we were growing up, Mom would make plum kuchen.  Kuchen is a kind of German cake.  Mom would put a layer of cake in the pan, slice the plums and layer them in neat rows, and sprinkle a cinnamon and sugar mixture over the top, which made the top of the cake crispy and a little caramelized once it had been baked.  Mom learned how to make it from her Mom, and so on.  While I love plum Kuchen and will probably make a small one with the rest of the plums, I wanted to do something a little different, more of a nod to my love of French food and culture.  And this Easy Plum Tart was born.

It really is easy.  Puff pastry from the freezer section of the grocery store, a little plain yogurt, sweetened with brown sugar and spiced with cinnamon (I really love the taste of cinnamon with plums after growing up with Mom's kuchen), some sliced plums and a liberal sprinkling of powdered sugar, and you got yourself a sweet but still tart dessert with buttery, flaky layers of pastry that would be a showstopper at any dinner party or late morning brunch with your friends.  Just make sure to have enough on hand.  

Easy Plum Tart

1 egg, beaten
2/3s of a sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
1 heaping tablespoon plain yogurt
3/4 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6-8 Italian plums
Powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet.  Place the puff pastry on the baking sheet.

2. Pit and slice the plums into thin wedges.

3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Spread the yogurt over the puff pastry in an even layer, leaving at least a half-inch edge of puff pastry uncovered.  (Leaving this edge uncovered is important so that the puff pastry will rise when it bakes).  

4. Arrange the plums in neat rows so that most of the yogurt is covered.

5. Using a brush or your fingertip, dab the edges of the puff pastry with the egg wash.  (This will ensure the puff pastry turns a lovely golden brown.  Throw the rest of the egg in with your scrambled eggs the next morning.)  

6. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the plums are tender and the puff pastry is golden brown.  Using a sifter, sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.  Cut and serve immediately.

This tart was inspired by a number of sources, primarily by Katie Quinn Davies' Sweet Sour Cream Apple Tart.  

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