Monday, June 08, 2009

Plum and Strawberry Tart

I have an unending fascination with plums. I'm not sure if it's because they turn into delicious, endlessly sweet prunes or because with plums, you get a pretty good mix of shockingly sweet and slightly sour fruits. Either way, I love them and it warms my heart when I see them working their way into all the markets. We've been munching on plums for the last couple weeks, but really, I just wanted to make a tart out of them. I think I like the lines of tarts more than I like how pies look. Or maybe I'm just prejudiced against pies. Not sure. Intellectually I realise they're the same thing but I just like tarts better. For this one, I wanted to sweeten the fruit just slightly, and I wanted to incorporate a bit of citrus and vanilla into them. This is the conglomeration of all those varied desires. Hope you enjoy!

1 4"x1" strip orange rind (peel only, no pith)
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (you can add the pod too, but I tossed it in w/ the vanilla extract I'm making; if you want to lower cost, add a tablespoon of extract after the mixture comes off the heat instead)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
small pinch salt

pie crust for a 9" tart shell
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 plums
6-7 large strawberries

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine first group of ingredients in a small saucepan. On the lowest heat setting, let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat,stir and cool. While the honey mixture is cooling, line a 9" tart pan with pie crust. Deseed plums and slice. Hull and slice strawberries. Sprinkle cornstarch over the bottom of the pie crust evenly. Line crust with plum slices. On top of plum slices, intersperse strawberry slices with the remaining slices of plum. While straining, pour honey mixture over the fruit and bake 50 minutes or until done. Cool. Serves 8.

Edited to add: I think this would be slightly better if a 1/4 teaspoon of cracked peppercorns were put into the honey mixture while it's cooking.

6 comments:

  1. This looks wonderful but I have a question. Now that dried prunes are called plums are they still prunes? I was fascinated by the marketing genius that came up with this strategy to improve the image of prunes. Why after an eternity do something so strange? Sure beats me.

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  2. Darius,

    Thanks!!

    Mary,

    I think they're still prunes, yeah. I've seen some containers that still call them prunes, and some that call them dried plums. I think maybe the marketing ploy didn't take away the image of grandmothers sipping prune juice (or is that just me? Well, I still love them despite that image, or maybe because of it) so they seem to be going back and forth on what to call them.

    It is weird though, isn't it?

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  3. Ohhhh, your tart is absolutely gorgeous - a true work of art! I love your addition of vanilla to the fruits!

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  4. Astra,

    Thanks! I think next time I'll put pepper in too. I almost did, and then I didn't at the last second, but I think it'd make it a little more beautiful tasting. Vanilla really is just lovely though, don't you think?

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