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Plum tart

Tasting this plum tart was the first time I considered the sun to be the key ingredient of a dessert. Devouring fresh plums at the farm where they grew made my taste buds spew in reaction to the sweet, fragrant juices in a way that only a tree-ripened plum could ignite. The purple translucent skin seems the perfect envelope for holding the orange-hued, sun-kissed flesh that mimics the color of its days ripening in the field.

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This same farm grew the most beautiful sunflowers I have ever laid eyes on. With this tart in mind and the sunflowers reflecting their bright yellow upon my face, I filled up a bag of these luscious plums. The recipe was inspired by Darya, the impressive voice behind Tortore. I’m a novice baker, leaving the hard stuff to the scientists so I followed her recipe (and gorgeous step-by-step pictures) pretty much exactly, resulting in a tart that achieves a doughy succulence, packed with fruit, light layers of sugar, butter and a kiss of that special something–an ode to the summer sun. One taste results in a dizzy contentment that lingers long after you’ve devoured it.

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Ingredients:

Recipe from Pure Dessert, by Alice Medrich as replicated by the lovely Darya over at Tortore

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp butter, slightly softened
  • 6-8 juicy plums
  • confectioners sugar, for dusting (optional)

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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly butter the pan, even if it’s non-stick

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the beaten egg and butter. Using a wooden spoon and a fork, cut and blend mixture until it forms a dough. It is ready when I looks like wet sand, and most of the dry bits are gone. After a while if you have trouble getting it to form a dough, ditch the utensils and use your hands. It saves time. Form the dough into a ball.

Press the dough into a round or square baking pan tart pan, no bigger than 12 inches by 12 inches, starting from the center and working towards the edges. The dough should cover the bottom of the pan; do not press it up the sides of the pan.

Cut the plums in halves or quarters, however you please (using a serrated knife is easiest). Arrange the pieces in a pattern that will allow you to get plum in each bite. Leave about 1/2 inch margin between the plums and the sides of the pan.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes (check after 35 and decide whether the tart needs to be baked for longer). The edges of the tart should be golden brown. Let the tart cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before attempting to dig in or remove from pan. Let the tart cool completely before serving. Dust with confectioners sugar if desired.

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