I had a few days off work this week so I drove to my hometown to visit my mum and sister (and my dog Eddie, of course). I did a bit of grocery shopping while I was there and I saw these beautiful red plums. It is almost perfect plum season in Ontario, as summer is (slowly) arriving. Plums have a beautiful tart skin with a smooth, sweet flesh on the inside that almost explode with juice when you bite into them. They are the perfect fruit for a custard tart like this one, because the skin itself will stay intact during the baking time, while the inside of the fruit will become soft and juicier. Any other fruits that have a tart skin on them would be great, like cherries, apricots, peach, or nectarines.
The crust on this tart is quite a bit different than your typical flaky pie dough. After mixing the ingredients together, the consistency is more of a paste than a dough. To put the crust into the pan, you press the mixture down in an even layer along the sides and the bottom. Make sure to spray your pan very well before pressing the mixture in.
The filling is a very basic custard, made with cream, eggs and sugar. There is a little bit of flour to help the eggs set up the custard. The neutral flavour of the custard really makes the plums shine and enhances the natural sweetness of the fruit. One of the great things about plums is their versatility. They aren’t too sweet, so they lend well to savoury applications, and they are just sweet enough that when they are enveloped with a sweet custard they balance out the flavour perfectly.
Photo by Grace Holyoke (2019)
One question I get a lot is about where all of the food I make goes. I live alone, and I couldn’t possibly eat all of this food on my own- so it has to go somewhere! Each post that I make means a lot to me, and there is usually a story behind the inspiration of the dessert. Fr example, in the Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream I made (link for the recipe here) the person that inspired me to make that was my mum. I knew that she would love it, it’s one of her favourites, so when I came home this weekend, I brought the ice cream with me to share with her. Sharing baked goods is such a special way to show and tell someone you love them, and when I make something that I think someone I love would enjoy, I look forward to giving it to them.
For the Pastry:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes, like Maldon (I use this one)
For the Custard:
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 4-5 red plums, or other variety, pitted and halved
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Generously butter a fluted tart pan or spring form pan.
For the pastry:
- In a large bowl stir together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
- Add the flour and salt and stir until just combined. Press this dough into the pan to form an even layer along the bottom and up the sides.
- Bake the crust until pale golden along the edges and just puffed, about 13 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, just long enough so the custard won’t curdle once it’s poured in.
For the custard:
- Whisk together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl then whisk in the cream, egg, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until very smooth.
- Place the plums cut-side down into the cooled pastry in two concentric circles, with one in the center. Pour the custard into the tart around the fruit. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the custard is just set and the top blushes with spots of golden brown. Cool before serving.