It's time for plums and this is Edna Lewis' recipe for the most delicious, rich yet light plum tart ever. It is perfectly but not overly sweet. The process is simple and unusual: bake the plums to let them release their juices, then assemble the tart using those same juices to form a glaze, genius! It has the most unbelievable crust--a butter pastry with no liquid. This recipe is from Edna Lewis A Taste of Country Cooking. —GirlCook
Cut the plums in half and place the halves in a single layer skin side down in a flat ovenproof dish. Sprinkle evenly with 2/3 cup sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. This will extract most of the juice from the plums. Remove and set aside.
Make the pastry: place 1 cup of the flour, sugard, butter, salt and lemon zest in a bowl. Blend all together with pastry cutter at first and then your fingertips. Trust me, it WILL form a dough even though no liquid has been added.
Edna Lewis calls for 15 minutes of hand kneading of this dough with these instructions: "knead the dough by hand continuously for 15 minutes. This is the key to obtaining good results from the butter-rich dough. Sift in 1 TBS of flour during kneading and a second TBS near the end of kneading. This is a very soft dough." I followed this and it produced a beautiful, soft dough.
Put the dough into an ungreased 9" tart pan with removable bottom or a 9" spring form pan (this is what I used). Lightly press the dough to cover the bottom evenly and go up about 3/4" on the sides. *
Take each cooked plum (leaving the juice behind in the pan) and place skin side down on the pastry in a nice pattern. Bake this for 20-30 minutes in a 325 degree oven until the pastry is golden brown. It took me the full 30 minutes but check it after 20, it can overcook easily.
Remove it from the oven and let it cool while you make the glaze. Put the juice that was extracted from the plums into a saucepan and slowly cook this on low heat until it has the consistency of syrup, be careful not to burn this. Spoon this over the plums, it will form a glaze.
Take the tart out of the spring form pan. This is great with freshly whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.