(photo (obviously) not taken by Sarah Shatz)

- Amanda

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For years I've been baking a peach tart recipe that my mother gave me. The crust is scented with almond extract and enriched with oil rather than butter, which makes it crumblier and a little snappier. The best part is that you don't have to roll out the dough, you just press it into a tart pan -- which means it's a great dessert for making with your kids and for when you're stranded in a rented house without your rolling pin.

After the tart pan is lined with dough, you fill it with sliced peaches and shower the fruit with a pebbly blend of sugar, butter and flour. The sugar helps the fruit juice and the butter and flour make a nice thick sauce of that juice.

I was reminded of this recipe when one of food52's members, Erika Kerekes, wrote about it at Examiner.com. In her version, she made the crust savory and topped it with beet greens and cheese. And she inspired to make my own changes. I swapped out the peaches for plums and change the oil in the crust to half olive oil, half canola. The olive oil adds fragrance, and the canola keeps the dough flaky. Small Italian plums are just coming into season, so now is the moment to make this -- enjoy.

Plum Tart

Serves 8

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 20 small Italian plums (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), halved and pitted (if your plums are large, quarter them)

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, milk and almond extract. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork, just enough to dampen; do not overwork it.

2. Use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable base, pushing it up the sides to the edge of the pan. This will be easy if you pat firmly and confidently, but not if you curl your fingertips into the dough. It should be about 1/8-inch thick all around; trim and discard excess dough.

3. In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablesoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the butter. Using your fingertips, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly, with a mixture of fine granules and tiny pebbles.

4. Arrange the plums in concentric circles, cut-side-up on the pastry, leaning against each other like fallen dominos; they should fit snugly. Sprinkle the pebbly butter mixture over top (it will seem like a lot). Bake for 35 to 45 mimutes, until shiny, thick bubbles begin enveloping the fruit and the crust is a nut brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably with large dollops of whipped cream.

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Ushan July 26, 2011
What awesome timing, I just picked up some plums from the market. Making this to share with friends tonight
tucsonbabe July 24, 2011
It was so nice to see an "old friend" of a recipe. I used to make this all the time when I was immersed in "Cooking for Mr. Latte". Thanks for the reminder. I am off to buy some Italian plums.
Amanda H. July 24, 2011
How nice that you think of it as an old friend! I haven't made it yet this year, but it's become an annual fixture in our house.
Sandy October 5, 2009
I've been making this since reading Cooking/Latte, too! The last time was at a friend's house, and I ended up using two lightly buttered loaf pans. They looked great and tasted wonderful -- warm from the oven after lunch and cold for breakfast the next day. thank you, Amanda
Amanda H. October 5, 2009
That's a great idea -- I bet it would also work nicely in individual tart molds. Breakfast for one!
sfbayguy September 15, 2009
A couple of additional comments that may require a recipe updated. Should the tart pan be greased and, how should the plums be cut (thickness)?
Amanda H. September 16, 2009
It appears that I was half asleep when writing this recipe! I made these fixes in the ingredient list and steps. Hope you'll give it a try!
JKC22 September 15, 2009
This may sound simplistic and unnecessary , but it really helps if you tell what pan to use. Pie plate, tart pan with of without removable bottom), what size pan to use 9 or 10 inch etc? I know that an experienced cook might know, but there are some of us out here who need all the help we can get.. :-)
Amanda H. September 15, 2009
Thank you so much for catching this omission! I made it in a different pan than usual and forgot to include that detail. It's a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable base. I've corrected it in the recipe.

Thanks again!
witloof September 13, 2009
i've made this tart dozens of times since reading cooking for mr latte. i've done it with apricot, peach, pear, apple, rhubarb, sour cherry, blackberry, and walnut. i don't use olive oil, though. i tried it that way a few times and found the taste to be too strong, so i use canola oil.

i made the sour cherry one {using tapioca for thickener in addition to the streusel} this summer after making a few lattice top pies and getting tired of fiddling with the crust. the oil crust stayed much crisper than the traditional rolled crust, so i think from now on i'll be using the pat in crust for the bottom even if i decide to use the lattice top.

i get many requests for this tart. it's a total keeper! thank, amanda.
Amanda H. September 13, 2009
I think I agree with you on the oil, and may go back to all-vegetable oil. Olive oil is risky because it can be bitter or too strong. I want to try it with sour cherries -- sounds delicious. Thanks for the ideas!
maryvelasquez September 13, 2009
Saw the little plums at the farmer's market this morning and I am eating the tart right now. It is amazing. I love the uplugged technique and the savory Italian notes. But most of all I love the delicious plum "gravy" that magically forms when the topping and the fruit intermingle during baking. So unexpected! Is this entered in the contest? I would vote for it...
Amanda H. September 13, 2009
It's not in a contest. But since it comes from my mother, it makes me think that it would be fun to do "recipes from your mother/father" as a theme.