It started on PBS’s Caio Italia when Mary Ann Esposito made a custard plum tart. The dessert looked truly amazing–but with a cup of cream in the filling, I admit that it scared me. It hasn’t been a good summer for my weight . What I needed was a recipe that was a little lower in calories and a tad simpler in preparation.
It was then that I remembered the pear tart I made last spring. It was tasty and simple with a “pat in” crust. What if I started with my old fruit tart but gave it some more pizzazz–like a Linzer crust?
Linzer torte is a classic Austrian dessert with a citrusy, spiced crust, a filling of raspberry jam and a dressy lattice top. The flavor of the crust, with its ground nuts, citrus and spices is key to its distinctiveness. Yes, that should be a great compliment to the sweet-sour freshness of the plums! And if I skipped the top crust, this might just work!
I went through a few versions of the crust (first, too boring; second, too much orange zest; third time, hooray!) before arriving at the final version. Served at a casual dessert event, it met the mark of a true hit–my stepfather dropped in the next day for leftovers!
Plum Tart with Linzer Crust
- 2 t cinnamon
- 1 t cardamom (or 1/2 t ginger)
- 1/4 cloves
- 1/4 allspice
- 1/3 c sugar
- 1/2 t orange zest
- 3/4 c whole wheat flour
- 3/4 c all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts or almonds
- 1 stick butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold margarine or butter
- 4-5 large ripe plums, stone removed and sliced (about 1/3-inch thick)
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Make the crust. In food processor, mix together flour, sugar and spices for crust. When well combined, add butter in pieces and egg yolk, pulsing until it looks like brown sugar. Transfer the dough to an 11 inch tart pan and press the dough down with your fingers till it covers the bottom of the pan and edges a little up the side. Note: the crust above the “fruit line” tended to brown a lot so going just slightly up the sides worked well for me.
3. Make the crumb topping. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and the butter. Mix together in food processor (or with fingers) until crumbly.
4. Assemble your tart. Starting on the outside, arrange the plum slices in concentric circles over the pastry. Sprinkle the sugar crumb topping over the top.
5. Place a piece of foil or a baking sheet on the lower oven rack to protect the oven from dripping juice while the tart is baking–or place tart pan on cookie sheet or in jelly roll pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until shiny, thick bubbles are erupting from the fruit and the crust is beginning to brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.