Friday, July 15, 2011

Plum Crazy

Honey Vanilla Plum Tart
I had every intention of whipping together my favorite summer dessert (strawberry shortcake) when inspiration hit. It had been a while since I'd made a fruit tart and I was interested in developing my own pastry crust. When I stumbled upon six perfectly ripe, dark fleshed plums at the market, the choice seemed obvious. They were blackish purple and had a subtly floral fragrance to them. Sweetened with a little honey and rum, this beautiful stone fruit makes one heck of a tasty tart.
- 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
- 6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 1" pieces
- 2 Tbsp. cold vegetable shortening
- 4-6 Tbsp. ice water
- 6 plums, pits removed and cut into 1/4" thick slices
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- juice from one lemon
- 1 Tbsp. dark rum
- 4 Tbsp. large grained sugar

Combine flour, powdered sugar, butter, and vegetable shortening into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a crumbly mixture forms. With machine running, slowly add ice water one Tbsp. at a time until the dough just comes together. Turn out dough onto a floured piece of waxed paper. Sprinkle flour onto the top of dough and cover with a second piece of waxed paper. Roll dough out into a circle so that it will fit into a 9" tart pan. Remove top piece of waxed paper and turn dough over and out into tart dish. Press dough into the pan and cut off any over hang. Cover in plastic wrap and chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes - 1 hour. 

After chilling the dough, preheat oven to 375˚ F. Remove plastic wrap from dough and cover top with foil or parchment paper then fill with pie weights or dried beans. The weight keeps the pastry from puffing up during baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crust is cooked through and beginning to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool before filling

While pastry crust cools, put sliced plums in a large bowl add honey, rum, and lemon juice. Allow plums to soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain off juices, preheat oven to 375˚F. Arrange slices in the pastry crust in a slightly overlapping spiral pattern. Sprinkle evenly with 2 Tbsp. of large grain sugar and bake for 30-40 minutes until plums are softened and juices begin to bubble. Remove from oven and allow tart to cool completely. Sprinkle with remaining large grained sugar, slice into wedges, and serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

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