A Plum of a Tart

I cannot resist buying the fresh ripe plums and apricots that are available at the farmers market these days.

With them, I have made my friend Paola’s Apricot and Almond Cake several times now — and will post it here sometime soon!

(I am already scheduling posts into November! So much food, so little time!)

But, these plums. So purple. So perfect. So plump.

I asked my friend and houseguest Michael, if he wanted a plum cake. “Couldn’t you make a jam tart?” he asked.

Yes. Yes, I can. And, thus, this tart was born.

I made the jam. I whipped up a crust. I concocted a streusel topping using speculoos cookies and some almond flour. The rest is now history.

This can be made with any stone fruit — or berries — but there is something special about the pleasant tartness of plums that just makes your mouth happy.

Markipedia, Michael, and I were joined for dinner that evening by our designer/architect friend Corina, who was raised in Buenos Aires.

In my traditional review process of any new recipe, I asked them what they thought of the tart.

Michael wanted the tart to have more cinnamon. Corina liked the subtle spicing that came from the speculoos cookies, especially as cinnamon is not much used Argentinean cuisine. Mark was on the same page as Corina.

You can decide for yourself — you can add cinnamon to the jam or the streusel... or not! Make it your own! If you can’t find speculoos cookies, ginger snaps or other spice cookies make a workable substitute.

~ David

Plum Streusel Tart

12 ounces purple plums, pitted and chopped
1 apple, peeled and grated
1 cup sugar 

    * you can also used high-quality jarred preserves

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
3 tablespoons ice water

4 ounces speculoos cookies
2 ounces ground almonds
4 tablespoons butter

For the jam: Mix the chopped plums, grated apple, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until jam is thick-ish — about 15 minutes. Let cool.Transfer the jam to a ceramic bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made two days in advance. (Note: I ran the jam through the large holed-disc of my food mill. This isn’t necessary – it just removes most of the skins.)

For the crust: Mix the flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, then add butter, and pulse 12 times. Add the water and then process until dough forms a soft ball. Press the dough into a 9-inch tart pan. Place the pan with the crust into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Once crust has chilled, prick the bottom all over with a fork, line it with foil and fill with pie weights (I use dried beans), and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, then take away foil and weights. The crust should be lightly golden. Let cool.

Crush the cookies in a mortar and pestle (or food processor) and mix well with the almonds. Add the chilled butter in pieces and, using your fingertips, mix the butter with the crumbs to make a streusel topping.

Spread crust with the jam (using all of it) and top with the streusel mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until nicely browned.

Let cool, and slice. A small scoop of vanilla ice cream wouldn't hurt.

Serves 8.

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