I was re-reading the recipe for this tart further down the page and let me tell you: good job I wrote it straight after making the tart, because right now I can hardly remember the details (the flavour, no, that’s impossible to forget). The fact is that I made this tart a month ago, which in blogging terms is more or less a lifetime. Four whole weeks have passed and I have cooked, I have photographed and, mostly, I have eaten, but I haven’t told you anything about it. And while that makes, I think, nobody but me really, really angry (how can it take you so long, Roberta? How?), deep down I like to think somebody living in the place I call Out There is anxiously waiting for a new recipe to arrive on FC&G (excluding my mum, that is) and every weekend without a new post is an unhappy one.
The truth is that I know perfectly well how a month has passed and we’ve reached the point when England has seen the first snow of the season and British plums are only a fading memory. The first weekend AMT (After Making the Tart) I told you about peas. The week after we had people over and I took the weekend off blogging, which sounds plain stupid but that’s how I justified it with myself. And then there was last weekend, which was to be devoted to the tart (or, rather, spreading word of it to the world) but ended up bringing bad news along with it, and I didn’t really feel much like talking. Time heals, though, and it didn’t feel right to keep this delicious thing a secret until the time plums would be in season again. So, there you are. If you don’t want to wait ten months, try using another fruit. The original recipe from the Telegraph calls for gooseberries, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use pears, apples or another type of berry. Pair with a liqueur accordingly, bake with cream in shortcrust and die happy.
Make the pastry. Mix the dry ingredients in the food processor and add the butter. Pulse until sandy and coarse-looking. Add the egg and pulse until the mixture looks more like a dough than sand. Take it out of the food processor and gently pull the dough together with your hands, without kneading. If necessary, use a bit of cold water. Flatten the pastry slightly, wrap in clingfilm and store in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. At this point you can start with the plums (see below). Take the pastry out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface gently roll it out with a rolling pin. When it’s as thin as it can get, gently roll it on top of the rolling pin and lift it into a fluted tart tin with a removable bottom. With you fingers, press the pastry into the corners of the tin. Press the rolling pin on the edges of the tin to cut the unnecessary pastry from the sides of the tin. Rest the pastry in the fridge for at least half an hour. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Take the tart tin out of the fridge and cover the inside with a piece of baking parchment filled with baking beans (or dried beans or rice). Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges look slightly golden and the pastry feels sandy to the touch. Remove the baking parchment and beans and return to the oven to dry up for about 5 minutes. Take it out, brush the bottom and sides with egg white and return to the oven until the egg has dried up. Then take out and let it cool before filling it. Keep the oven on at the same temperature if you are getting on with the filling at this point. Prepare the plums. Halve and stone the plums and place in a ceramic or glass bowl to marinate, along with the rest of the ingredients. I left it for a couple of hours, stirring every now and then. Before using for the filling (below), discard the cinnamon stick. Make the cream filling. Mix egg yolks and sugar until pale in colour and light in texture. Add the cream and stir until combined. Take the tart case (still in its tin) and arrange the plums in it. If you think you have too many plums, eat one or two halves: they are out of this world. I kept the port and plum juice as a kind of light syrup for serving. Then pour the cream filling on top, carefully place in the oven and cook for about 30-40 mins, until the top is golden. Let it cool and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.