By • August 1, 2010 5 Comments

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Author Notes: Way up in the mountains above a long narrow valley in California there is a place where I love to hike. The bones of a couple of 19th century farmhouses and chicken coops make the hike interesting and if my timing is right, the ancient apple trees and the cherry plum trees are ripe and delicious. The plums are amazing in that they have survived for so long with so much neglect. It makes them even sweeter. Here I have mixed them with some colorful grape tomatoes to produce tasty little tarts.themissingingredient


Makes 2 dozen

  • 2 packages puff pastry or make your own.
  • 2 lbs cherry plums or if you use large plums, cut them into small chunks, pitted.
  • 1 lb grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 4 star anise pods (about 1 tbs)
  1. In a large pot on high heat, put the plums, tomatoes and sugar.
  2. Zest a lemon and add the zest to the pot.
  3. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the pot.
  4. Put 4 star anise pods in a mortor or a spice mill and grind until fine and add to the mixture.
  5. When the mixture begins to bubble and break up, add the cornstarch (which you have made into a slurry with a little water or fruit juice).
  6. After the mixture has thickened, remove it from the flame.
  7. Prepare the puff pastry according to directions or make your own.
  8. In a muffin pan (you determine the size you want) cut squares of the puff pastry and press them lightly into each muffin cup.
  9. Spoon some fruit mixture into each pastry cup.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  11. Great served with vanilla bean ice cream on the side.

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