Last night I used some of the Italian prune plums we bought at the farmer's market to make a Flame Plum Tart from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. This cookbook challenges me every time I think I am a good baker. I've yet to perfect one of its recipes. But it is fun to try!
1. The plums were pretty good when eaten raw. They were AMAZING when tasted in this tart. Something about the sugar mixture brought out a tart sweetness that did not exist in the raw plums.
2. The presentation was beautiful.
3. I learned a tip I'll use again. Freezing the dough (which was like a sugar cookie dough and I don't know if this works for all dough) in the pan for several hours eliminated any crust shrink without the use of weights during blind baking.
1. The sugar cookie crust did not work well. First, it was quite hard to roll out and I ended up having to press it into the pan. Then, it got too brown in baking. This was partly my fault, as I read the crust-specific directions for the blind baking but missed the plum-tart-specific directions to underbake. Also, the sides of the tart unmolded easily, but the bottom crust stuck to the bottom of the tart pan and fell apart when I tried to cut pieces. Perhaps I'll use a thicker crust next time.
2. The finished tart was very, very juicy. It was a bit of a mess. But I did moisture-proof the bottom crust with melted apricot preserves and sprinkled it with the cornstarch mentioned in the recipe. Maybe if my plums had been a little less ripe it would have been less drippy?
Ultimately, the plum flavor was so amazing, I'll have to try this again. The plums on their own would have been great over ice cream, too.