Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer kicks into gear with stone fruit

Plum and almond tart

Summer gets an early start with strawberries and raspberries, but I don't feel like the season truly hits its stride until the stone fruit start coming in. We had wild plum trees in our backyard when I was growing up, which made it easy to chart summer's progress, and also meant that come the end of June several of the trees in the yard were drooping with the weight of golf ball-sized plums. It didn't help that my parents planted additional varieties of plums, so that at the height of the season we had a veritable glut of fruit on our hands.

Unbaked plum and almond tart

Would that we had had this recipe back in those days! (For the most part, we made a lot of jam.) It is a simple and (relatively) easy way to go through some plums. I say "relatively" easy because the plums we got then, and the plums I get now in my CSA share, are of the cling variety--they don't give up their pits easily. In fact it can be a slippery mess trying to get the plums cut neatly into slices, especially if the plums are very ripe. The rest of the preparation, though, is straightforward and takes no longer than the oven takes to come up to temperature. You don't even have to toast the almond slices if you're short on time, though I recommend that you do.

I think that this tart looks prettiest when you use a variety of plum that's dark on the outside and paler close to the pit, but you could use any kind of plum that you have on hand. Any kind of stone fruit, really, as I'm sure it would work with apricots, nectarines, or peaches--even cherries, if you're willing to pit and slice that much fruit for one tart. Recipe below!

Plums on the tart

Plum and Almond Tart

Makes one 14x14" tart


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpos flour
  • 1 3/4 pounds red plums, pitted and cut into wedges 1/3-inch thick


  1. Place oven rack in lower third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400F/205C.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry to a square 14 inches on a side, trimming the edges if necessary to make a neater square.
  4. Transfer the pastry to the prepared baking sheet. Leaving a 1-inch border on all sides, prick the pastry all over with a fork.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the almonds, the flour, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the pastry, again leaving a 1-inch border on all sides.
  6. Place the plum slices in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and toss to coat the plums evenly. Arrange the plums over the almond mixture.
  7. Bake the tart until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, and the plums are tender and juicy, 25-30 minutes. Cool the tart on its baking sheet on a rack, and serve warm or at room temperature.


  • The pastry can be prepared, sprinkled with the almond mixture, 3 hours ahead of time. Keep chilled.
  • This tart is best the day it's made (within a few hours of baking, to be honest), but it keeps reasonably well for something involving puff pastry.
  • If you happen to have some pie pastry lying around, or if you don't have puff pastry but can make some pie pastry, you could substitute it for the puff pastry. Leave an extra couple of inches' border around the fruit, and fold the pastry over the fruit to form a galette.
  • For a shinier finished product, boil together some plum (or apricot) preserves with a bit of water, and brush the mixture on the fruit when the tart comes out of the oven.


Bee said...

That looks gorgeous, Anne. I haven't seen any plums yet, although I have a few peaches starting to soften on my countertop! (I still haven't had my 4th of July peach cobbler.)

I don't know HOW you managed to cut those up so beautifully.

Anne said...

Thanks! We haven't gotten any good peaches yet... hopefully soon. I hope you get your 4th of July peach cobbler! Did you at least get your fried chicken?

In this case, the camera was kinder than was warranted. The plum slices weren't beautiful at all--I didn't take a picture of them in the bowl because they looked awful! all misshapen and uneven and such--but somehow in the pictures they turned out great. Maybe it's that low angle. :)

Anna said...

Have you seen David Tannis' cookbook, A Platter of Figs? I am obsessed, of late, with his almond plum cake recipe. I am eating some right now, as a matter of fact. Yum!

Anne said...

Hi Anna, I actually have that cookbook... but I lent it to someone back in January or February and she hasn't returned it! At the time I'd only skimmed the spring and summer recipes, since it was going to be a while until I had the produce for them. Now that I do, I don't have the book! Sigh. I'm going to try to get it back, as an almond plum cake sounds amazing. Thanks for the tip!