Poached Plum Tart
- ACTIVE: 1 HR 10 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 15 MIN plus 4 hr chilling
- SERVINGS: 8
Nina Planck believes in eating "real" food in its purest, least-processed state, including unpasteurized whole milk with a thick layer of cream on top. She makes this elegant, juicy custard tart with fresh butter, eggs, milk and—when they're available locally—sweet, firm Green Gage plums.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 cups plus 2 teaspoons whole milk
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 black peppercorns
- One 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
- 6 medium purple or Green Gage plums (2 1/4 pounds), pitted and cut into eighths
- In a food processor, pulse the flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse just until pea-sized clumps form. Sprinkle on the ice water and pulse just until the pastry comes together. Turn the pastry out onto a work surface and flatten it into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Turn the pastry out onto a floured work surface and roll it out to a 12-inch round. Transfer the pastry to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; gently press the pastry up the side of the pan and trim any overhang. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
- Line the pastry with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 40 minutes, until dry and lightly golden. Remove the foil and pie weights and bake for about 15 minutes longer, until the shell is golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.
- In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in an even layer. Let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, warm the milk. In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks with the sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in the flour, then gradually whisk in the hot milk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and the salt. Scrape the mixture into the medium saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until bubbling, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until no floury taste remains, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.
- Warm the gelatin over low heat, swirling the pan until melted, about 3 minutes. Stir the gelatin into the pastry cream. Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
- In a large skillet, combine the wine, sugar, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Add the plums and simmer over moderate heat, stirring until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the plums to a plate; let cool to room temperature. Boil the liquid until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 6 minutes. Strain the syrup into a bowl. Pat the plums dry.
- Spread the pastry cream in the shell. Arrange the plums in concentric circles over the cream. Brush some of the syrup over the plums. (If the syrup is too thick, reheat it gently.) Refrigerate the tart until just set, about 1 hour. Cut into wedges; serve the remaining syrup on the side.
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