As I mentioned in the lemon tart recipe post, one of my favorite cookbooks is by the Bouchon Bakery. It contains a recipe for a plum tart that uses a wonderful pâte sucrée crust, and frangipane filling. I made it before as a thank you for some plums I was gifted, and have loved the combination ever since. Frangipane works well as a base for almost any fruit, especially stone fruit. So when we were given a load of damson a week ago, it was the first recipe I wanted to try.
Now, a word of warning here. Unless you’re a masochist for baking (like me!), I won’t recommend making a damson tart. Instead, use any larger plum, or even nectarines, or peaches. The amount of wedges you need to cut from the tiny damsons is ridiculous, and takes ages. However, if you’re like me, and have more damsons than you can eat (and a lot of free time), why not?
You can even use the frangipane and pâte sucrée crust combination with other fruit. In the past I have used poached pears, blackberries, and blueberries. Anything will be beautiful. And I don’t just mean flavour, but these tarts always look gorgeous. Especially this damson tart.
While the endless rings of tiny pieces to cut is silly to make, it looks really pretty – no?
- 5-6 large plums or 10-15 damsons
- Pâte Sucrée:
- 188g plain flour
- 23g icing sugar
- 47g icing sugar
- 24g ground almonds
- 113g unsalted butter (room temp.)
- 0.5 vanilla bean (split open, seeds scraped out)
- 28g eggs (about 0.5 of a large egg)
- 73g almond meal
- 7g plain flour
- 73g unsalted butter
- 73g icing sugar
- 44g eggs (about one egg)
- For the pâte sucrée, sift together the flour, ground almonds, and 23g icing sugar. Add any of the almond that doesn't pass through the sieve back into the mixture.
- Beat the butter and vanilla seeds until light in colour and soft, and then sift in the remaining icing sugar. Whip the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until it resembles a sort of wet sand. Tip the bowl out onto your work surface, and press together.
- To make sure all of the vanilla and sugar is evenly mixed, you will use a technique called 'fraiser' or 'fraisage'. Use the heel of your hand to smear the mixture together on the table, then scrape it off the table, fold it over itself, and continue smearing until it's evenly mixed (see image above).
- Pat the dough into a disc, and wrap in cling film, Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, prepare the frangipane.
- Sift the almond meal and flour together. Break up any remaining lumps of almond meal in the sieve, and add all of it into the flour. Whisk together
- In a medium sized bowl, beat the butter until very soft. Sift in the icing sugar.and beat together until light and fluffy.
- Add the flour mixture in two additions, and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the eggs, and beat until smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C), grease and line a tart pan with a circle of parchment paper.
- To roll out the dough, place the disc between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out until it is large enough to fit your tart pan and lay inside.
- Press the dough into the corners and fluted edges of your tin, then trim the edge either with your fingers, or by rolling over with your rolling pin,
- Fill the tart with the frangipane, either with a piping bag, or by spreading an even layer over the bottom.
- Slice your fruit into wedges, about 0.5cm thick, depending on the fruit being used. I probably sliced the damsons thinner as I needed so many pieces.
- Arrange your slices of fruit in concentric circles, slightly overlapping each piece with the next. When you finish the outside edge, start a new row, slightly overlapping with the first. Repeat to fill the middle of the tart.
- Bake the tart in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until the crust has browned, and the filling is set.
- Allow to cool before trying to remove from the tin.