Garden Harvest: Apples Tomatoes Sunflowers & Plum Tarts (Oh My!)

This year's garden harvest has been one of the best. Outside of our peach tree, which last year yielded a bumper crop but this year was a dud, Farmer Bob couldn't be happier with his bountiful collection of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Pictured above are the results of some picking over the Labor Day weekend.

Since we were going to friends for a farewell to summer dinner, Bob decided to make a plum tart. I struck out in finding any recipes in our vast collection of cookbooks, but did come up with an online recipe for a Plum Tart from Epicurious. Click on the link for the recipe, which I've also included below with a minor change by Farmer Bob. 

Farmer Bob's Plum Tart is ready for the oven.
Two tarts right out of the oven. 
This one we took to the dinner party, the other stayed at home.


Pastry Dough

3 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
4 large egg yolks


1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch*
3-3/4 lb. small plums (preferable prune plums), halved and pitted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
*Bob suggests 3-1/2 tablespoons


Make dough by combining flour, butter, sugar, salt and zest in a food processor. Pulse until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with remainder in small (roughly pea-size) lumps. Add yolks and process just until incorporated and mixture begins to clump. 

Turn mixture out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. Smear each portion once with heel of your hand in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather together 2 portions of dough and form into a ball; make another ball with other 2 portions. Pat out each ball of dough with floured fingertips into a tart pan, in an even 1/4-inch layer on bottom and up sides (about 1/8 inch above rim). Chill 30 minutes or until firm. 

While shells are chilling, make filling by stirring together sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add plums and lemon juice and toss to coat. Let stand, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes, or until juicy. Preheat oven to 425F. 

Assemble and bake tarts: Arrange plum halves, skin sides down, in tart shells, overlapping in a rosette pattern. Halve any remaining plums lengthwise and randomly tuck in between plum halves in tarts. Pour all juices from bowl over plums. 

Bake tarts in middle of oven 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375F. Cover tarts loosely with foil and bake until plums are tender and juices are bubbling and slightly thickened, 40-50 minutes more. Brush warm juices in tart over plums. (Juices will continue to thicken as tarts cool). Cool tarts completely in pans on rack. 

Serve with creme fraiche or lightly sweetened sour cream. Makes 2 tarts. 

Notes: Use 9-inch tart pans with removable bottoms. Tart shells may be made 1 day ahead and chilled (covered). Plums may stand, coated with sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice and chilled (covered) for 1 day. Stir well before proceeding.

Photos by Sue Frause


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