Italian Prune Plums are only in season for about one day each year. When I saw that Fresh Direct had them, I jumped at the chance to order them so I could make Grandma’s Plum Tart.
I use the crust for this tart A LOT (you can use it on basically any pie or any savory dish, like quiche, if you take out the sugar). It is the EASIEST thing in the world to make and requires no fridge time nor rolling out. You make the darn thing right IN the pie pan. It isn’t a flaky crust, but I’d challenge anyone to say it is any less delicious. I used it as the base for the Drunk ‘N Nutty pie, so head over to that link for more instructions.
I was actually out of breadcrumbs, so I used graham cracker crumbs. You don’t taste this anyway, but good to know you can substitute (this stops the crust from absorbing too much of the sugar).
Grandma used to halve the plums with her fingers and the pits would fall right now. I guess I don’t have her magical ability to figure out when they are perfectly ripe, so I am usually splitting them with a knife and carving out the pit. (And I have to give a shout out to Mike, who meticulously and patiently cut all these for me since I broke my right pinky, further limiting my already clumsy knife skills). This time was no different, even though they felt very soft to me. You then soak them in sugar. (Grandma used to always worry they wouldn’t be sweet enough… I will keep that in mind for the future because while this turned out awesome, it was a little on the tart side. Next time remember: MORE SUGAR)
After you split them all in half, you arrange them in concentric circles. I have done this starting from the center or from the outside, and while both methods need a little balancing and adjustment, the outside-in method seems to make the most evenness.
You then bake it up for an hour. Last time I made it, it wasn’t quite so juicy (the plums were frozen… not sure if that had anything to do with it). This one was almost FILLED with juice. I was concerned it wouldn’t work… but I should not have worried.
You then pour in a mixture of egg, flour, milk and Bristol Cream Sherry (or any sherry really, but Bristol Cream is always the most delicious). I was nervous it was going to overflow, but it fit in just right.
You then bake it a bit more until the egg mixture is set (not runny).
This thing is a crowd pleaser. It has a beauty to it with those plums and is incredibly easy to make but looks VERY difficult. The flavor is very unique, and unlike anything I have ever had.
And best of all… it reminds me of Grandma.
Grandma Litty’s Plum Tart
- 2 to 2 ½ pounds Italian Prune Plums – Split in half (they should be softish, ready to eat and splitable by hand. You should add more sugar if they are on the hard side. You can split them and freeze them since they are only available in early September)
- ½ to 2/3 cups sugar (more if not very ripe)
- One egg yolk
- 1 tsp flour
- ¼ cup milk
- One tbsp Bristol Crème Sherry (or any sherry)
- one stick butter, room temp
- 1 ½ cup flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp milk
- 1 Tbl. Plain bread crumbs
· Cover split prunes with sugar and set aside
· Preheat oven to 350
· To make crust:
1. Cut up the butter in bottom of 9” pyrex dish
2. Add all the other stuff on top and using your hands, mush together very well, no flour should show.
3. Make ball in center, then press out with heels of hands, then fingers to get it up the sides… make even thickness bottom and sides.
4. Cover the bottom of the crust with BREAD CRUMBS. This prevents the sugar from seeping thru the crust.
· Add plums in concentric circles, starting from outside… Stand them up and make it tight to keep them standing… use last plums in bowl to sop up all or most of the sugar.
· Bake at 350 for one hour. Check after 35-45 mins, as sometimes the crust gets too brown, to prevent this, add a pie shield or place a ring of tin foil to cover the crust area.
· Remove from oven for 5 minutes and place on rack
· Beat one egg yolk with fork, then add 1 tsp flour, mix well with fork, then add ¼ cup milk, mix in one tbsp Bristol Crème Sherry (or any sherry)
· After crust has been out of the oven for 5 mins, pour the egg mixture gently over the plums.
· Return to oven for 5 mins… touch with your finger… if it is “set” (not runny) then remove from oven