Thursday, August 29, 2013

Plum Tartlets

These are the fastest tarts ever and since they are not too sweet, you can have them for breakfast topped with yogurt.  My favorite eating plums are the black plums that have just about peaked.  For tarts, I use prune plums which are coming into season now.  They are smaller, very easy to pit and hold their shape nicely when baked. 

My recipe uses squares of purchased puff pastry.  You can make your own or use regular pie dough instead.  The tarlets are baked in regular-sized muffin pans to create their small uniform size. 

They freeze really well and reheat quickly in a hot oven-- no need to defrost.  Also good travelers for the last picnics of the summer.

Plum Tartlets
Makes 12-14 tartlets

Ingredients
1 pound prune plums
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoons jam (fig or your favorite flavor)
2-3 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
dash salt
2 teaspoons corn starch dissolved in 1 ounce cold water
1 sheet puff pastry (about 12" X 12")
2 tablespoons grounds almonds (or fresh breadcrumbs)

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Chill a regular 12-muffin pan in the refrigerator.  
  2. Prepare plum filling. Halve each plum and remove pit.  Cut plum halves in thirds and place in a medium pot with a heavy bottom.
  3. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, jam and water.  Cook plum mixture over medium-low heat and stir as needed to prevent sticking.  Cook unitl plums are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
  4. Lower heat and add cornstarch dissolved in water and vanilla or almond extract.  Cook another 2 minutes.  Add a touch of salt. 
  5.  Remove from heat and taste. Add a bit more sugar if your plums are not very sweet. 
  6. Pour plums into a bowl to cool while you prepare pastry cups. 
  7. Place puff pastry on a lightly floured board.  Using a rolling pin, roll out puff pastry to create a large square, a little over 12" X 12" inches.  Larger is fine.  
  8. Using a non-serrated knife or pizza cutter, cut puff pastry into 12-16 squares.  (If you cut 16 squares, you will have leftover for more tarts or can form the remainder into a mini-tart (see photo below).
  9. Press each square into the chilled muffin pan.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons plum mixture into each pastry. 
  10. Bake at 375˚F for 18-20 minutes until edges of pastry are lightly browned and crisp.
  11. Remove muffin pan from oven and let pastry rest 2-3 minutes.  Then, remove each tartlet to a wire cooling rack.  If fruit has spilled over and tarts are sticking to pan, place them back in the warm oven for a few minutes to help loosen.