I discovered this recipe in a Fair Lady magazine very early in my baking days – 1994!
22 years later it has proven to stand the test of time exactly as it is, no changes or improvements required. I just love all the colours of this tart – the deep purple skins of the plums, the red and orange flesh, the golden pastry. It is an absolute showstopper of a tart, so it’s perfect for a special tea-time treat or to end off a memorable meal.

A cautionary note on the almond essence. This stuff is strong! A drop or two is more than enough to give a lovely almond flavor. Any more than that and you will have a strong marzipan-like flavour that totally overpowers the plums.

Ingredients:
(Makes 1 x 24cm diameter tart)

1 quantity of Basic Shortcrust Pastry

Almond Cream
125g butter, softened
125g castor sugar
2 eggs
150g ground almonds
45g cake flour
2 drops almond essence

6-8 ripe plums, stones removed and sliced
Approx 100ml of sugar
30ml butter

Method:

  • Roll the pastry out to about 4mm thick and use to line a 24cm diameter tart tin (preferably a loose-bottomed tin). Carefully fit the pastry into the tart tin, pressing well into the edges. Roll your rolling pin across the top of the tin to smoothly remove any excess pastry on the edges.
  • Place in the fridge for 30 minutes (this prevents the pastry from shrinking).
  • To make the almond cream, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs and almond essence, mixing well.
  • Lastly mix in the almonds and flour and beat until well combined.
  • Spoon over the (unbaked) pastry and spread evenly.
  • Arrange the plums* onto the almond cream in concentric circles, covering the entire surface.
  • Dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake at 190°C on the lowest shelf for the first 15 minutes, then transfer to the middle shelf and bake a further 45 minutes. This bakes the pastry evenly and helps to avoid that dreaded “soggy bottom”.
  • Remove from the oven and cool slightly before removing from the tin.
  • Dust with icing sugar if desired and serve with whipped cream.

Notes:

* The plums should be ripe but firm. Wash and dry them well before slicing.

* To remove the stones, cut around the circumference of the plum with a small sharp knife. Then holding the plum firmly, twist the 2 halves in opposite directions. The first half will come away easily, but you will need the knife to ease the stone out of the other half

* Taste the plums first and adjust the amount of sugar for sprinkling depending on how tart they are.

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