Because its now Autumn, we've had some lovely plums and other stone fruit around lately. I not really a big fan of plums on their own, but they work very well in deserts. I must confess, I didn't actually make this dish. My mother was the head chef for this project, while I played sous chef/chief taster! The recipe is from an old British 'Good Housekeeping' magazine, probably from sometime in the 1980s. Mum took this tart to the same function my salad was made for, and it was so popular that the host paused the party at one point to ask who had brought the wonderful plum tart.
Plum and Almond Tart
For the pastry
150g butter, chilled
175g plain flour
105ml sour cream
For the filling
50g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
15ml Kirsch or 3-4 drops almond essence
900g plums (or apricots)
Caster sugar for dusting
50g blanched almonds to decorate
175g plum jar
1) To make the pastry. Dice the chilled butter, place in a food processor with flour and process for 1-2 sec (you should be still be able to see pieces of butter). Add the sour cream and process for a further 1-2 sec until the dough just begins to come together.
2) Turn the pastry out on to a lightly floured worksurface and knead it very lightly for about 30sec or until the pastry just comes together (it should look crumbly). Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 30 mins.
3) While the pastry is chilling, prepare the topping. Place the butter in the bowl and beat until soft, then add the cater sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Whisk the eggs together lightly, and then beat into the butter and the sugar mixture, alternating with the ground almonds. Add the Kirsch or almond essence, then cover and set aside. Quarter and stone the plums or apricots.
4) Roll the chilled pastry out thinly to a 30.5cm (12in) circle, then transfer to a large, flat baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Spread the almond mixture over the surface of the pastry, leaving a border of about 3cm all the way around. Scatter the quartered fruit over the almond mixture and fold the edges of the pastry up over the fruit.
5) Dust with caster sugar, then chill in the fridge for 20mins. Heat another baking sheet at 220 oC for 10mins. Placing the tart on a heated baking sheet helps to cook the base of the pastry and prevents it from becoming soggy.
6) Slide tart on its baking sheet on top of the hot sheet. Cook for 35-40min, or until deep golden brown.
7) Leave the tart to cool for 10min, then slide it on to a cooling rack. Arrange the almonds along the fruit. Beat the jam a little, warm it in a pan until smooth, brush generously over the top and allow to set. Serve with the crème fraiche, or vanilla custard.