Plum Tartlets


Plum Tartlets


Ripe plum

“He lived in a world shining and fresh and as uninspected as Eden on the sixth day. His mind plunged like a colt in a happy pasture, and when later the world put up fences he plunged against the wire, and when the final stockade surrounded him, he plunged right through it and out.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


I thought I saw Superman. It was the unfurling of his tattered cape that hinted at his disguise. He met my gaze as he strode past. Beyond the matted brown hair I saw strength in his eyes. His filthy sleeping bag was flung across his shoulders and as he glided past; it billowed out behind him. With long sure strides he easily cleared a path as he navigated the isle. Some of the clerks had gathered to whisper. Like everyone else I wondered what he was doing inside the store. I began to feel ashamed. How could I know this man’s story? The choices he has made, the fear that feeds his pain and the terror of being homeless and hungry? Jolted from complacency and privilege I veered to gratitude. How fortunate I am to shop at the grocery store of my choice and have a kitchen to cook our meals. It is a privilege to be able to indulge in making summer tarts to share with you. He gave me a gift fitting of a superhero; a reminder to find gratitude in each day. A homeless man was at my favorite grocery store today. But I thought It might have been Superman.

Preparing plums


These plums are scarlet red inside and out and dangle like a ruby necklace laced around our neighbors stately backyard tree. Gifted with two two large baskets of plums I made two batches of jam and these tarts. These plums were very tart and called for a gracious amount of sugar and for serving, a scoop of ice cream. The plums do become sweeter when very soft and ripe but then disappear in a puddle of sweet crimson juice when sliced. Even then the pit holds fast. I found my way with the plums by cutting them like a mango instead of an apricot.

I am winding my way through summer with all manner of pies and tarts. As each fruit finds it’s season, I’m off to try another pastry recipe to stuff full of juicy ripe fruit. If fruit is summer’s superhero then buttery pastry is the vehicle of transportation to deliver our hero to your dessert plate. This pastry crust recipe is the flakiest I’ve ever made and no more challenging to prepare than regular pie crust dough. Be sure to leave the butter in large chunks and handle the dough as little as possible for a tender and flaky crust. Using full fat yogurt and egg yolks as the liquid in the dough makes for a splendid tart. Half a recipe of pastry was used for the tarts and the balance was frozen to use later.

Making plum tartlets

Pastry for the tarts
1-1/4C/310gr full fat, runny yogurt (not Greek)
2 egg yolks
2-1/2C/330gr all-purpose flour
1T/15gr sugar
1t/5gr salt
1C/226gr unsalted cold butter
15 ripe plums (4 cups after pitting and slicing)
1C sugar
1T cornstarch
1T minute tapioca
1/4t cinnamon
1/4t salt
To finish the tarts
1/4C sugar
1/4C brown sugar
1T all-purpose flour
2T melted butter
1/2C plum or seedless raspberry jam
  1. In a small bowl mix together the yogurt and egg yolks.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor (or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) pulse (mix) together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the cold butter in cubes and add the cubes to the dry ingredients. Pulse (mix) until the butter is the size of small coins: pennies, dimes and nickels. For a flaky crust do not break the majority of butter into any smaller pieces. Dump the contents of the food processor bowl into a large mixing bowl. Add the yogurt mixture to the bowl and combine with the flour mixture. The dough will come together in large clumps. Be sure to scrape down to the bottom of the bowl to mix all the ingredients together. Add more yogurt, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too dry. Do not over mix. Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface. Bring the dough together in a large ball and knead two or three times; just until the dough forms a cohesive mass. Do not over handle the dough. Cut the ball in half and flatten into two disks. Wrap each disk individually in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours before making the tarts. (I used one disk of pastry for this recipe, and froze the other disk to use later.)
  3. While the dough chills prepare the plums. Cut the flesh off the plums by cutting big slices around the pit. Mix the plums with the sugar, cornstarch, tapioca, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Let the mixture rest for fifteen minutes before using.
  4. Heat the oven to 375°. Mix together the sugars, flour and melted butter in a small bowl. Have the jam ready to spread on the bottom of the tarts. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Butter the tart pans.
  5. With a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough approximately 1/8” to 1/4” thick. Don’t be dissuaded by any large pieces of butter as you roll out the dough. Add a little flour and keep rolling. Those pieces of butter will make the flaky in your crust. Measure, cut and line the tart pans with dough. Gently push the dough down into the contours of the tart pans without stretching the dough. Trim the dough flush with the edge of the tart pan. Gather together the dough scraps and chill them for twenty minutes before rolling out. Spread a thin layer of jam on top of the dough in the bottom of the tart pans. Chill the dough and jam filled tart pans for twenty minutes before adding the plums.
  6. In the tart pans arrange the prepared plums on top of the jam, skin side up. The plums should rise above their juices in the tart pans. Spread a bit of the sugar mixture around the plums. Place the tarts on the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. The larger tarts took 30 minutes to bake. When done the pastry crust will turn golden brown and the plums will glisten as their juices bubble around them. Cool before serving. A scoop of ice cream would be a splendid addition.

Fresh plums



This entry was posted in Baking, Pies, Tarts, & Pastries and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Plum Tartlets

  1. Carol Sacks says:

    Deb, these are so vibrant and delicate. And, I was moved by the description of your encounter. Moving post.

  2. @yumivore says:

    No doubt small moments can have a big impact!

    The tartlets look scrumptious and can just imagine their incredible aroma and taste. From what I can tell, you make the best pies Deb, would love a bite!

  3. I love this post, thank you. And lovely tarts.

  4. From the color to the dough, these are amazing tarts Deb! I want to try the dough with yogurt. And I found my apple corer to be the perfect plum pitter…

    • Deb says:

      Using an apple corer is a splendid idea for coring the plums, especially when making lots of jam! The pastry is lovely Paula, must be something to do with the extra fat from the yogurt. Thank you for commenting, I appreciate your thoughts!

  5. Wow! Tears came to my eyes when you described your “Superman” in the store. We, that have plenty…we, that don’t need to worry about where we are sleeping or what we are eating…we, that have a life much different than his, must keep our good fortunes in mind, every single day & be thankful. Thank you for your thoughtful post, Deb.

    As usual, your pictures are outstanding and encourage me to find the time in my busy life to create such beauties to share with family and friends. I did that just last night, finally creating a Blenheim apricot pie, then took the rest of the apricots and “put them up” in the freezer for later use. At 10 pm when I was done, I shared a slice of warm pie with my husband. Exhausted but extremely happy, I went to bed and slept like a baby! 🙂 Looking forward to your next post. Thanks!

    • Deb says:

      Denise thank you so much for your kind and lovely comment! Finding gratitude each day makes for a joyful life. I appreciate your thoughts! While my fresh Blenheim’s are long gone, we are very much enjoying the jam. It is the best!

  6. What beautiful tarts! I love plums, especially when they are super ripe and juicy and the red ones are always the best.

  7. I love plums, your tartlets look divine!

  8. shannon says:

    SO beautiful, Deb. I know all of us are just making fruit thing after fruit thing right now, because summer fruit is just the best sort. I don’t even like summer, but the produce? that could stay around all year and i wouldn’t mind.

  9. Valentina says:

    Your writing is beautiful. I was lured right in, and am wanting to turn the page. I love how you turned this experience into such a lovely moment.
    Incredibly stunning tartlets, too.

  10. Plum tarts are one of my favorites. Of all the possible uses for this stone fruit, nestled inside a flakey pastry seems to fit it best.

    Thank you for sharing your encounter with “Superman”. A touching insight to be sure.

  11. Patty says:

    Beautiful plum tarts! Sounds like you’re having fun baking your way through all our luscious Summer fruit ;). The pastry recipe sounds interesting, love using yogurt for baking, love your photos too!

  12. Jacquee says:

    Lovely story and gorgeous photos! You have really made this dish come alive for me.

  13. Deb, I was moved at your first lines – New York did that to me. Shook me up. Made me think of how grateful I should be for every fruit I sink my teeth into and every lumpy pillow I sleep on.

    You found courage in your encounter and you have inspired me to look for the plus in every bit of ‘shaken story’.

    These tartlets look stunning. As always

    • Deb says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment Oz! I appreciate your kind thoughts! The practice of gratitude has changed my life.

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  16. Your pastry looks amazing! I’ve never used yoghurt with a shortcrust before, and seeing yours I’m definitely giving that a try.

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