Why I love it: The plums in this tart are macerated in a mix of cinnamon, Bourbon, honey and a hint of cayenne pepper and then roasted in the oven, all of which makes them extra delicious. Despite the multitude of flavors this tart is actually simple and very easy to make and because the tart shell and the filling are prepared completely separately, the danger of a soggy crust is reduced to a minimum.
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I love fruit tarts but have always struggled with soggy crusts. As the fruit cooks it releases its juices and they have nowhere else to go but into the tart shell they are sitting in. Well, I’m happy to say that that’s not a problem here because for this tart I prepared the crust and the filling completely separately.
Here’s how it goes: you whip up a sweet tart dough and bake it. Meanwhile you cook up a macerating liquid for the fruit with Bourbon, honey, cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper and then soak the sliced plums in it. All those flavors work very well together, the cayenne pepper adds just a bit of sharpness that enhances the cinnamon. Once the plums have soaked up all the deliciousness you roast them in the oven until they are soft and cooked. Then you lay them into the fully baked baked shell and voila, your tart is ready to serve!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons shortening
- 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons ice water (more if needed)
- ½ cup Bourbon
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 9 ripe plums
- whipped cream to serve
- Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl.
- Add the shortening and the butter and cut them in with a pastry cutter until you have the consistency of a meal.
- Sprinkle the water over the fat/flour/sugar mix and bring the dough together with your hands. (If the dough doesn't come together, add a little more water, 1 teaspoon at a time).
- Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Roll out the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap and then fit into an 9-inch greased tart pan.
- Put back in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line the dough with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the weights and the foil and bake until golden-brown (about another 20 minutes), then take out and let cool but leave the oven running at 350 degrees F. While the crust bakes, make the filling.
- Add Bourbon to a saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. Let cool.
- Stir in honey, cinnamon and cayenne. Set aside.
- Slice the plums into wedges and add to a large bowl.
- Pour the Bourbon glaze into the bowl and toss the plums in it until they are well coated. Let the plums macerate in the liquid for 20 minutes.
- Spread the plum slices out on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Don't throw away the macerating liquid.
- Lay the slices into the tart shell in circles, then brush some of the remaining cinnamon liquid onto the plums.
- Serve with whipped cream.
Food Photography and Styling: To show the nice spiral pattern that the plum slices formed I shot this tart from an overhead perspective. I started the shoot by setting the tart pan directly on the wood and then tried various items underneath it (fabrics and paper of various colors). The white paper looked best to me because of the way it made the black, scalloped rim of the pan stand out, it gave the tart a really pretty outline. As far as equipment goes I used my strobe (as always) but instead of my 105mm lens I actually used my 60mm macro lens here. I generally only use the 60mm on restaurant shoots (because space can be very limited in a restaurant) but I was in the middle of reorganizing my studio last week and just didn’t have a high enough ladder on hand.
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.