Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Plum perfection...if patient

The September issue of Bon Appetit had a ton of recipes featuring plums so, the only think I can say is…the magazine made me do it. We didn’t need a dessert. We didn’t need anything sweet. I was home by myself, enjoying a really nice, quiet evening, watching a rerun of Top Chef. (The one when Howie tries to quit.) Why did I choose to involve myself in a relatively easy, yet time consuming recipe that probably needs to be served for company with a really nice dinner?I knew I was going to do something with plums, just not necessarily on a Wednesday night. I bought 10 shiny black plums earlier this week because I merely skimmed and bookmarked the recipe. This recipe calls for red plums, but the black plums worked just fine. They might be a little bigger than red plums; I think I used six and a half in an All-Clad non-stick nine-inch pan. The reviews for the recipe online also caution that it creates a lot of juice, and it does. I added just a little flour mixed with water to the juice right before covering it with the pastry. I think that really helped to thicken it enough to keep it from running all over the plate.
There is a major problem with trying this at home, alone. As soon as it comes out of the oven, you want to taste it. Just a little bite. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is. Because this is to cool completely before you invert it onto a plate. Not fair, I say. Not fair at all.

I broke the recipe rules and paid for it. It was not set up, but it was close. We had an unexpected gathering, after my evening alone. And there I was, waiting with a lovely ending to a lovely evening. I served it, it was runny and delicious. Tart and sweet and perfect; even if was a bit runny.

plum tarte tatin
Bon Appétit September 2007
Makes 6 servings

1 cup crème fraîche*

1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
2 1/4 pounds sweet firm red plums (such as Burgundies or Satsumas), halved, pitted
2 tablespoons plus 2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

Whisk crème fraîche and orange peel in small bowl. Cover; chill. Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface; trim corners to create circle. Place on plate. DO AHEAD: Crème fraîche and crust can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix plums, 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, nutmeg, and seeds from vanilla bean in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes.Melt butter in heavy ovenproof 9-inch-diameter skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup sugar evenly over melted butter. Tightly arrange plums, cut side up, in concentric circles in skillet (plums will appear slightly uneven but will soften while cooking, creating even layer). Drizzle accumulated juices from bowl over top. Cook over medium heat, shaking skillet gently to prevent sticking. Continue cooking until syrup turns deep red, pressing plums slightly to form compact layer, about 35 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat; cool 10 minutes.Slide crust atop plums in skillet. Press crust edges down around plums at edge of skillet. Cut several slits to allow steam to escape. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Cool tart completely in skillet.Rewarm in skillet set over high heat to loosen, about 3 minutes. Place large platter over skillet. Using oven mitts hold skillet and platter together and invert, allowing tart to settle onto platter. Slowly lift off skillet.

Let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours at room temperature.

Serve with orange crème fraîche.*Sold at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.
Makes 6 servings

1 comment:

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That tart looks beautiful!

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