Monday, 18 June 2007

Pia's Plum Tart

The plum season is gone since quite a while but I still haven't blogged about the latest result on my quest for the perfect plum cake. There has been the traditional one and the not-so-traditional one - both delicious in their own right but both not quite able to satisfy the expectations of my boyfriend. Usually, he's quite happy with the outcome of my kitchen adventures so I was really curious to know more about the superior plum cake of his mother with the mysterious "brown dough" - and I got her recipe.

It turned out that this dough was pretty similar to the pretty famous Austrian Linzer Torte which is said to be the world's oldest known cake recipe. I had never made it before so I was very intrigued and rushed to the store to get ground hazelnuts. I know, the recipe says almonds but that's where the trouble starts. To get the full taste - and the desired brown colour - the almonds need to be ground with their skin on. Unfortunately, the store-bought almond meal is completely white and I don't have a food processor to make my own. That said, the best option is using a manually operated grinder. There you'll get tiny flaky bits (instead of a uniform floury meal) which will improve the texture of all sorts of baked goods, especially flourless cakes.
Anyway, none of those options was open to me so I decided to cheat a bit and used a mixture of 50g of ground hazelnuts and 50g of ground almonds. That way, the dough was decidedly brownish.

However, this story doesn't come with a happy end - simply because I was too impatient. Once the tart started to look done around the edges, I decided that it was fully cooked through even after only half an hour in the oven. When slicing the tart, I realized that I had outsmarted myself: What had looked all right around the edges was completely undercooked in the middle. Luckily, even undercooked, the cake was still tasty albeit not at all crunchy. Now I'll have to wait for the next plum season to get the ultimate plum cake experience... If any one happens to have some plums in the freezer and wants to try this tart, please let me know about the outcome...

Pia's Plum Cake

The ingredients

150g butter
100g sugar
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
some lemon zest (or vanilla extract, if you prefer)
150g all-purpose flour
100g ground almonds

Cream butter with sugar until sugar dissolves. Add egg yolks, salt, and flavouring, mixing carefully after each addition.

Add the flour and the ground almonds, while mixing on low speed. Once the dough comes together, shape it into a disc, wrap in plastic foil, and chill in the fridge for an hour (because the dough is quite soft).

Press the dough into a buttered 26 centimetres tart form (the dough will still be too soft to roll it out) and cover tightly with plums. If using frozen plums, don't let them defrost or they will get soggy.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about an hour (and try to be patient - it doesn't matter that the edges of the cakes could get a bit dry and crumbly). Take the cake out of the oven and immediately sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

The source
Pia's recipe

The hint
You can easily double the recipe for a whole tray of plum cake.


Anh said...

Oh Eva, you really should have posted this recipe when plum is in season. I adore stoned fruits, so this recipe I'll keep for next summer!

Eva said...

Anh, you're right, I wasn't very organized... In fact, once I had finally gotten the recipe, the plum season was already over but luckily, I had some plums in the freezer. However, I can't wait until next season and plan on repeating this with tart pears. Maybe you have an idea which other tart fruit could be a good substitute? I only know them as preserves but I guess fresh cranberries could work well, too. But I've no clue when they're in season...

Patricia Scarpin said...

Eva, I think this looks so delicious! Even with the undercooked part I bet it tasted wonderful - I absolutely love plums.

Nora B. said...

Hi Eva, that looks delicious! I still crave for your other plum cake that I made soon after you wrote about it on yr blog. I bought some "discounted" USA cherries from Harry's Farm (they were very ripe), so I might try to use them in this recipe or I was also thinking of making cherry clafoutis...still deciding... p/s: what did T think of your attempt to make his mother's recipe?

Eva said...

Patricia - Yes, we had no trouble devouring it all. It was like eating cookie dough - and at least the plums were cooked properly!

Nora - I bet this could be very good with cherries, too! But on the other hand, I always wanted to make clafoutis - hard decisision...;-)
Regarding T, luckily he's not a picky eater and tucked in accordingly (however, it was very different from what he had remembered). So I still have to wait a couple of months to find out if I can make a plum cake that he truly adores!

Anh said...

Eva, I have NEVER seen fresh canberries here. *sigh* Pethaps I didn't look hard enough...

I think pear can be a substitute, but they lack the acidity of stoned fruits... Maybe apple? Granny Smith may be a good try.

Or else, we just have to wait!

Eva said...

Bummer, Anh, cos I never had fresh cranberries in my life - will have to go to the US then... But I'm definitely trying something since I have another batch of this dough in the freezer... Will keep you up-dated!

Kinna said...

Great pictures you have. I just love them!

Eva said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kinna, I'm glad you like my blog. Just checked out yours - luckily it doesn't matter that I can't understand Swedish (can only count up to ten in your language) in order to enjoy your pictures! Such lovely fruit tarts!

Rebecca Bourke said...

Wow, it looks amazing, as does the rest of your site. It's my first time here and I'm captivated by your delicious looking photographs :) Hope to see lots more from you in the future...

Helen said...

Hi Eva, looks so good and ya'll are going to give me the evil eye but I loaded on plums at the market today. We are in full season here and I can't stop loading on black plums.
The cake looks perfect!

Eva said...

Welcome, Rebecca! I'm always excited when someone new stopps by!

Helen - rest assured, I envy you... But I just saw those beautiful little quince tartelettes on your blog - and that might be just the thing for my leftover pastry! But first I have to figure out where to get them...