French Plum Tarts

Several months ago I was contacted by the writer Rosy Thornton who wanted to know if I would like to try some of the recipes from her book “The Tapestry of Love”.   I thought this sounded like a great idea, and resolved to read the book first so that recipes had some context.  Well, life (and work!) got in the way and it is only in the last few weeks that I have finally found the time to read Rosy’s book and got round to trying the food!

The book is set in Cévennes mountain region of France and centres around a middle aged English woman, Catherine, who has relocated to the area.  Throughout the book many delicious dishes are consumed and Rosy had thoughtfully put together a collection of recipes for these.  Having a sweet tooth the one that immediately jumped out at me was the Mirabelle tart.  In the book this is cooked by Catherine for her neighbour using Mirabelles from her own back yard.  Lacking such a luxury I had to settle for some plums from the supermarket instead.

The recipe given is actually for one large tart, but with it just being myself and my partner, I decided to halve it and make three individual tarts instead.  I started by making the pastry, a basic shortcrust of 1oz unsalted butter and 2oz flour which were rubbed together and bound with water.  This went into the fridge to cool for about 10 minutes and in his time I buttered the tart tins.  When the pastry was rested I split it into three and rolled each section out to a thin disc about 3mm thick.  I then pricked the base of each tin, covered them in baking parchment and poured in some baking beans.

The tins then went into the oven (200C ) for 5 minutes to blind bake and I got on with making the custard to fill the tarts. This consisted of:

  • 1oz caster sugar
  • ½ an beaten egg
  • ¾oz plain flour
  • ¾oz ground almonds
  • ¼ pint of milk
  • ½oz melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of suitable fruit liquor (I used Chambord which is black raspberry)

To make the custard I beat the sugar into the egg before adding the flour and almonds to create a smooth paste.  The milk, melted butter and liquor are then added in turn resulting in a fairly thin (and slightly pink!) batter.

Making the custard

With the batter made and the cases blind baked it was time to prepare the plums.  For a large tart the plums should be halved and arranged skin side down in the case, but for these individual tarts I sliced the plums (one for each tart) into thin slices and arranged them in a fan before sprinkling another some sugar (an ounce between the three tarts) over the top.

Adding the fruit...

... and the sugar

The custard mixture was then poured on top.  In the end I had enough custard to have made a fourth tart.  The tarts then went into the oven (still 200C) for about 20-25 minutes (this would be 45 for one large tart!) till the top of the custard was golden. The rest of the custard was then promptly eaten by my partner!

Filled with custard

Just out of the oven

It tasted great! Eating the tarts, the top had taken on a sponge like texture while the custard inside had remained creamy and smooth.  The plums had softened but still retained their structure.  Despite the sugar the plums were still fairly sharp which I enjoyed as it contrasted well with the custard.  The bottom of the pastry was a little underdone, I think that a little more time blind baking would solve this.  All in all these were a hit!

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4 Responses to “French Plum Tarts”

  1. Janice Says:

    So pretty as individual pies!

  2. Babygirl Says:

    These look so yummy.. very nice

  3. Rosy T Says:

    I agree with Janice, they look absolutely gorgeous as individual tartlets. Thank you so much for reading my book, and for including a recipe on your blog!

  4. noblenourishment Says:

    Aww that book sounds like a lovely read! Those tarts look spectacular also 🙂

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