Posts Tagged ‘tart’

End-of-summer plum ginger tart

The first day of school has come and gone, the days and nights are growing cooler, but I’m still wearing my sandals, dammit, and likely will be until October, when the mercury dips low enough to necessitate socks.

And as we ease through the transition from high summer’s lush stone fruit to the this season’s fresh apples and pears, I made this tart the other night with some plums.

It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable with making pie pastry. I’m always worried about overmixing it and having it turn out too tough, or not letting it rest enough and having it shrink in the oven. For a while I thought that making classic flaky pie pastry, like the knack for getting your whites really white, was the domain of our mothers and grandmothers – you had to be inducted into that secret society before you really got the hang of it.

One of my last cooking jobs, where I had to make pies every other day, helped cure me of that.  It’s all about practice, pure and simple. And also confidence. Sure, there are tricks, like adding some vinegar or even vodka to the water – and these have merit. But for me the bottom line is that as long as all of your ingredients are very cold, and you don’t mix it too much, you’ll be ok. You can even add a bit more water than you think you should, and it will be ok.

But for those of us who, unlike our grandmothers, aren’t in the habit of whipping up a pie on a regular basis, this pastry is a breeze. And the freeform shape means you don’t even have to trifle with a pie plate. Easy as pie.

Plum Ginger Tart
serves 6 virtuously, or 4 generously

For the pastry:

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 cornmeal
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter or shortening (or a mix of both)
ice water

For the filling:

1 1/2 pound of plums (about 6), sliced thin
1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp. flour

1 egg for egg wash
parchment paper for baking, cut large enough to fit a cookie sheet

First, make your pastry: In a bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. With a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut in the shortening until it looks like a crumbly mixture, with some pea-sized pieces of shortening in it. Add in 2 tablespoons of ice water, then additional tablespoons of water if needed. The dough should stick together when squeezed.  Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for an hour. (If you’re impatient like me, you can probably roll it out after a half-hour, but I found it crumbled a bit too easily and would have benefited from the extra resting.)

Make the filling:  In a bowl, mix the plums, ginger and sugar together. This would be a good time to taste the fruit and make sure the sweetness is to your liking. Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you might want to add another few tablespoons. Once you’ve got that tweaked to your liking, add the flour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shape the tart: Lightly flour the parchment paper, and roll out the pastry to approximately 14 inches around. Transfer the crust, parchment and all, onto a large baking sheet.

Pile up the filling in the centre, leaving about 2 inches around for a border. Fold the border over the fruit. You can try to make this all pleated and pretty, but I think the tart will be just as attractive – call it rustic – if it cracks here and there. Some juices may spill out onto the parchment paper, but that’s why you have it there.

Bake the tart for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbling. Let it cool for 15-20 minutes. This will be a test of your willpower, but it helps the juices congeal a bit so you don’t lose them when you slice the tart. 

Best served warm or at room temperature, but if you happen to eat some leftovers (ha!) straight out of the fridge, well, I’m not one to judge.


Read Full Post »