Although this dessert looks like a tart or pie, the way it behaves depends on the kind of plum you use. If you use firm varieties, your tart will stay intact. If you use the more common red plum as I did, you are going to get more of a crisp.
The crust is classic crumble with extra stability from an egg yolk and added butter, but with juicy fruit, it's not quite stable enough to preserve the allusion that it's a tart. With soft ripe plums, it will fall apart when cut, so let go of any notion of pretty wedges on a plate and just dig the spoon into it as you would when serving a fruit crisp. It doesn't matter anyway -- it tastes outstanding. Inside the crust are fresh sliced plums tossed with a little lemon zest -- nothing else. The tart/crisp is baked until the plums are bubbly and the crust is golden brown. It tastes sweet but not overly so. It's homemade perfection, which means that although it might not look perfect, it tastes divine. —Waverly
Test Kitchen Notes
I have never been a huge fan of raw plums (I think it is that the skin is a little bitter), which is unfortunate since they're everywhere this time of year. Something happens, though, when you put heat to a plum. It melts into a tarty mash of deliciousness. I liked that this recipe called for peeled plums (it wasn't that difficult) and that the crust was on the top and the bottom. After all, whose favorite part is not the crust? YOU? You're lying! —LooptieLoo
- Serves 8
ripe red plums
freshly grated lemon zest
all purpose flour
walnuts, finely chopped and lightly toasted
light brown sugar, firmly packed
cold unsalted butter, diced
- PREP THE PLUMS: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Submerge each plum in the boiling water for about 15 seconds. The skin will peel off easily. When all of the plums are peeled, cut them in half, lengthwise. Remove the pit. Quarter the plums and then toss them in a bowl with the lemon zest. Set aside.
- MAKE THE CRUST/CRUMBLE: In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, toasted walnuts, and brown sugar. Use you fingers to work the butter and egg yolk into the mixture until it becomes crumbly.
- ASSEMBLE THE TART: Butter a 9 1/2-inch tart or pie pan. Press 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of the dough into the bottom of the pie pan in an even layer. Arrange the plums on top of the crust in an even layer. Sprinkle the rest of the crust mixture on top of the plums.
- BAKE AND SERVE: Place pie pan on a baking sheet and bake until the plums are bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve right from the pan warm or at room temperature. A little scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side goes very well.