The most adorable Italian prune plums are in season throughout the early fall. They have a wonderful taste and a gorgeous color, with purple skins and golden flesh. This rustic tart is such a picturesque way to enjoy them, pretty enough to please guests but easy enough to make for family. A free-form crust (you can save time and use store-bought dough) curls around the edges of plum slices arranged in decorative spirals.
The final product, served warm, looks like you slaved over it for hours, but it’s easy as pie–or tart!
12 firm, ripe prune plums or dark plums (2 pounds), halved and pitted, then sliced into crescents
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in to small pieces
dough for one pie crust, thawed but refrigerated at least 30 minutes
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a large baking dish and cookie sheet and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the plums with 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the cinnamon, and nutmeg and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and dot with the butter. Bake for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the plums to a large bowl. Pour the juice in the baking pan into a small saucepan and reduce by one-half over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes.
3. Roll out piecrust on a lightly floured work surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheet and arrange the plums decoratively in overlapping concentric spirals starting about 2 inches from the outside edge and working your way in to the center. Fold the outside of the dough up and over to form a decorative edge. Brush pastry edge with cold water and sprinkle it with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
4. Bake until pastry is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Drizzle top with reserved plum juice and serve warm with marscapone, crème fraiche, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or nothing at all!
Adapted from Around the Table, by Ellen Wright (Harvard Common Press, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Ellen Wright. Reprinted by permission of Harvard Common Press.
Adapted from Around the Table, by Ellen Wright (Harvard Common Press, 2003).