Yesterday, I went to the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market in downtown and found some tasty plums. Pierre requested a tarte aux quetsches – a lovely plum tart that I once ate during my semester abroad in Angers, France many summers ago. I remember walking down the streets of the town and passing by all the quaint boulangeries and patisseries. During July and August, quetsches – these small, oval shaped and dark-skinned plums are in season and the patisseries would tempt passerbys with their rustic and delicious tarte aux quetsches. There were small, dainty ones . There were large, celebration-size ones. Sometimes, there’d be tarts where the plums were beautifully fanned in consecutive circles. Other times, they’d simply be placed, cut-side down with a golden custard around them. No matter what, I had to have a taste every time. It’s a simple tart and one that really lets the flavor of plums come out with a delicate flourish.
1 1/2 cups of unbleached flour
1 stick (8 Tbl) unsalted butter (frozen, cut into small cubes)
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbl. sugar
1 egg yolk
1 Tbl. ice cold water
egg wash (1 egg mixed with 2 tsp. milk)
1.5 lbs. small plums, halved and pitted
2 Tbl. cassonade (raw sugar)
egg custard (2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg +1/4 cup sugar —- tempered with 2/3 cup of hot milk)
Directions for tart crust:
Using a pasty cutter, such as this one
Cut (blend) the dry ingredients with the butter until you have pea-sized globs (that’s the technical term). Add the egg yolk and cold water. Stir and combine. Add enough cold water until the mixture clumps in your hand.
Next, place the dough onto some plastic wrap and form a flat disk. Wrap and refrigerate for about 1/2 an hour.
Roll the dough to about 1/8 in. thick and gently place it on your tart pan. Using your fingers, gently mold the dough to fit the tart pan and crimp the edges. Put the whole thing back in the fridge for about 15 min. or so.
Then, in an oven preheated to 350F, blind bake the tart shell for 15 minutes.
Next, arrange the plums on the tart in whatever way you feel – I like concentric circles 🙂
Bake the tart for 15 minutes – the plums will begin to soften.
Take the tart out of the oven and pour the custard into the tart, making sure it surrounds all the plums. Sprinkle the tart with cassonade.
Brush the outer crust with a little egg wash. Lower the oven to 325F and bake for another 30 minutes or so. Bon appetit!