Rustic Plum and Port Tart

When this came out of the oven I wondered if anyone would want to try it. I wasn’t thrilled by the fact that the crust was crumbly. Or that the port wine and plums had oozed onto the parchment paper. Or that it looked a little too much like stewed beets.

I let it cool while we had leftover Indian food. Then I sliced up a piece, put a dollop of ice cream beside it and tasted. Well? Yum. I loved the deep plum flavor. Port wine is reduced to a syrup and tossed with plums before they get piled onto the crust and into the oven. The result is a little rustic, and very sophisticated. And it uses these gorgeous plums.

The tart would have looked better had my pie dough turned out like I’d wanted it. The moisture content was a bit off. Feel free to buy pre-made dough. I wanted the practice so I made my own. I also used a combination of red and black plums. The bigger the plums, the easier they are to work with. Use the biggest ones you can find.

Rustic Plum and Port Tart
adapted from Bon Appetit test kitchen, via Epicurious

2 cups tawny Port
1/3 cup (packed) plus 1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 pounds plums (5 to 6 medium), halved, pitted, each half quartered
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 recipe Basic Pastry Dough (see below) or  refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Boil Port, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and allspice in large skillet until reduced to 2/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Place plums in large bowl. Sprinkle flour over; toss to coat. Drizzle 1/3 cup syrup over plums; toss to coat. Reserve remaining syrup.

Unroll cold pie crust onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon plums into center of crust, leaving 1 1/2-inch border; drizzle any remaining syrup from bowl over plums. Fold crust edges over plums. Brush crust with water; sprinkle crust and plums with remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar.

Bake tart until crust is golden and syrup is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Cut warm or room-temperature tart into wedges. Serve with scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzling additional syrup over.

Serve with vanilla ice cream

Basic Pastry Dough
Gourmet 1999

3/4 stick cold unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes.

To blend by hand:
Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender until most of mixture resembles coarse meal, with rest in small (roughly pea-size) lumps. Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water evenly over and gently stir with a fork until incorporated.

To blend in a food processor:
Pulse together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a food processor until most of mixture resembles coarse meal, with rest in small (roughly pea-size) lumps. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times, or just until incorporated.

Test mixture:
Gently squeeze a small handful: It should hold together without crumbling apart. If it doesn’t, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring or pulsing 2 or 3 times after each addition until incorporated (keep testing). (If you overwork mixture or add too much water, pastry will be tough.)

Form dough:
Turn out onto a work surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together and form it, rotating it on work surface, into a disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.


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