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.
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.
Pour the tart dough mixture into an 11-inch tart pan. Use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan, 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.
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.
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.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.