Everywhere on the blogosphere, the gold and amber hues of autumn are beginning to appear on the plates. I am trying my hardest to not jump onto that band wagon quite yet only because summer is still quite present, the days are still hot and there is still some stellar summer produce at the farmers markets.
It’s hard to think of autumn recipes when summer produce is so abundant. I was at my local farm (at the Isabelle Farm stand in Lafayette) the other day and they were over flowing with gorgeous summer corn, leafy greens, heirloom tomatoes and a myriad of vibrantly coloured peppers.
The first of the fall pears and apples are beginning to appear and I am so waiting to get cracking with my autumn recipes. So many ideas!
In the meantime; another summer recipe showcasing some super sweet plums I found. This summer, I did not make any sort of berry or rhubarb pie like I usually do, except for the Apple Rhubarb Hand Pies, I made for Father’s Day, so I compromised with tart/pie and made this Plum Cardamom Crostata (or Galette).
Many, many years ago, before the blog, and at a time I was getting into enjoying baking and cooking, I was planning a Thanksgiving menu. Back then, I was an ardent Bon Appetite reader and religiously read the magazine cover to cover and very often cooked from it, and from many cook books. One such cookbook, had a beautiful plum tart showcased for some entertaining menu and I fell in love with it. It was beautiful; crisp, buttery golden pastry layered with ruby red plums.
I decided that this show stopping tart just had to be on my Thanksgiving table and it was added as one of the many desserts I had planned to bake. When the time came to go shopping for all the ingredients, of course, there were no plums to be found. In November, they are not exactly easy to come by. Back then, I was just beginning to understand about seasonal foods and fruit. I will never forget that Thanksgiving and my tart that never was! Since then, I have paid particular attention to seasonal produce and never been caught in that position again!
For some reason, that plum tart has never left my mind. I guess it was a learning experience. However, this tart is not the same tart. I rarely have time to cook from books any more, unless it’s a world cuisine cookbook. In between, children, husband, running around, housekeeping, grocery shopping and this blog and developing recipes, stopping to cook from book is a rare pleasure. Not to mention, I can’t even remember the book that has that particular plum tart recipe. But I have never forgotten the experience! Even as I was preparing this tart, I had to think back to my Thanksgiving experience! I must’ve taken it very hard
Fast forward many years and here I am, older and wiser, well, older for sure. So, this summer, when plums are abundant, I give you my long awaited plum tart, Plum Cardamom Crostata.
If you love cardamom, you will love this crust. I adapted a pastry recipe from Jacques Pépin and actually, like it better than the one I always use; it’s so gorgeously flaky and buttery; like eating a croissant. The cardamom is fragrant, not strong, but you can definitely tell its presence and it smells wonderful. The plums sit atop a rich, luscious, almond cream (it’s a frangipane).
- 1 1/2 cups/200g all purpose/plain flour
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons organic sugar, powdered or granulated
- pinch salt
- 1 1/2 sticks/170g chilled butter, in small cubes
- 3-5 tablespoons ice water
- ALMOND CREAM
- 1/2 cup/65g ground almonds
- 1/4 cup/55g organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons/25g all-purpose/plain flour
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 red or black plums, sliced 1/4 inch wedges
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream/milk to brush on pastry
- raw sugar for sprinkling on crust
- Prepare the pastry first so that it can chill for a few minutes before baking.
- Easiest way to make the crust is in the food processor but it can also be done by hand.
- In the bowl of a food processor bowl, place the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt.
- Pulse a few times to mix.
- Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is broken up an incorporated throughout.
- The mixture should look like coarse bread crumbs.
- Add the water start with 3 tablespoons.
- Pulse to see if your dough comes together.
- Depending on the humidity and the dryness of your flour, you may only need 3 tablespoons.
- I always need about 5 or 6 because Colorado air is dry.
- You want the dough to stick when you pinch between your fingers.
- Don't over process and make a ball in your processor.
- Once the dough is holding when you pinch, tip out onto a counter and make a ball using your hands.
- Gently kneading a little to get it to hold together.
- The butter content is high in this dough so you should need little water and it should come together nicely.
- Flatten into a disc shape.
- Get a baking sheet ready and a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the baking sheet or baking mat.
- Place the disc of dough onto the parchment paper on the counter and roll out into a circle about 14-16 inches.
- Place the rolled out dough and the parchment paper onto the baking sheet and chill for about 15 minutes.
- ALMOND CREAM AND PLUMS
- While the pastry is chilling, make the almond cream and prepare the plums.
- Toss the plums in the sugar and set aside to macerate.
- In the processor bowl, add the ground almonds, sugar flour and salt and pulse to mix.
- Add in the butter, egg and vanilla and process to a paste.
- Set aside until ready to bake the crostata.
- Preheat the oven to 400℉/200℃.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge.
- Spread the almond cream paste over the top of the crust leaving 1-2 inches around the edges to fold over.
- Arrange the plums over the top decoratively or toss them in rustically.
- Start to fold over the edges of the crust all around, pleating them slightly.
- Brush the edges with cream, milk or egg wash and sprinkle raw sugar all around.
- Bake until golden brown and juicy, about 40-50 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
I hope everyone has a fun filled weekend planned. Mine starts with a wonderful lunch with friends today (I’m taking one of these for dessert), I’m looking forward to relaxing, enjoying good food and great company. Saturday is Laith’s soccer game in Brighton which is about 45 minutes away and it’s a morning game so there’s no sleeping in. On a happier note, his team is 2-0 this season! They got it together after that miserable tournament a few weeks ago and they are a force to watch on the field. I am so proud of them . Hoping for another win tomorrow.
Have a great weekend!!