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Author Notes: A rustic flaky, buttery crust topped with a thin layer of rich and tangy mascarpone cheese, sweet onions and tart plums make for an incredible sweet-savory bite. And the small drizzles of honey and balsamic vinegar with just a bit of fresh basil round out the combination perfectly. This tart is delightful as an appetizer or as dessert. Included is a basic recipe for pâte brisée, a savory pastry dough, that was adapted from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." However, the plum topping definitely adds a new and contemporary twist. —JackieK
One mark of a great recipe is when each component is terrific in its own right. The pastry for this tart is beautiful and lovely to work with (as long as it’s chilled). The caramelized onions are delicious. And the way the plums are cooked – quickly sautéed with sugar added during the last moments – is a great technique for sautéing fruit. The edges brown, the fruit warms through without falling apart, and the tiny sprinkling of sugar forms a light glaze. JackieK's tart would make an impressive hors d’oeuvre – one whose components can be made in advance, then assembled just before guests arrive – or a last course for people who aren’t big dessert eaters. - A&M —The Editors
Serves 9-inch tart
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- pinches salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 firm plums, pitted and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cooked tart shell (recipe below or use store-bought)
- 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
Tart Shell (basic Pâte Brisée)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 1 egg
- To make the tart shell, begin by combining the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse for about 5 seconds until well-combined. Pour in the ice water and pulse just until the dough forms a ball. Note: this can also be done by hand; use your finger tips to blend in the butter but be sure to work quickly so it doesn’t melt.
- Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Freeze 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the dough onto a floured work surface to create a circle 1/8-inch thick. Invert a 9-inch plate over the dough to measure the size of the tart and cut out a circle. Set the dough onto a silicone baking sheet or a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Crimp the edges of the dough to make a decorative edge. Don’t worry if the tart doesn’t look perfect, it’s supposed to be rustic.
- Set a piece of foil over the dough and fill with dried beans. Leave the edges exposed. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and water. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the edges with egg wash.
- Bake the tart dough for 8 minutes. Remove the foil with the dried beans and use a fork to dock the bottom of the tart. Return the tart to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.
- To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan set over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook stirring often until soft and caramelized, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan.
- Melt the butter in the pan then add the plums. Cook stirring often until lightly roasted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and cook 2 minutes longer, then remove from the pan and cool to room temperature.
- To assemble the tart begin by spreading the mascarpone cheese in a thin layer over the shell. Top with a layer of caramelized onions then arrange the plum slices in a fan shape. Drizzle the honey and balsamic vinegar over the top and garnish with thinly sliced basil. Serve at room temperature.
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