This Plum Tarte Tatin is simple and yet so perfect for the best of summer’s produce.
I receive a bi-weekly delivery of fresh/organic produce from Door to Door Organics and I love that the system has morphed into allowing us make online revisions to the basic order so we can now pick a substitute for any produce they have scheduled to deliver in the next week. Well, I went nuts apparently with that capability this past delivery period and recently ended up with a box half full of plums. Always a bit anxious when it comes to plums…I’ve bought them and never seen them ripen before going bad so no matter that I love baking with them, I don’t use them as much as I would like. Purchasing plums in season makes all the difference and these were perfect so I was only left with deciding what to do with them.
I love those fruits that require sink eating…you know, standing over the sink and eating something so juicy, so ripe that the juices trickle down your chin and forearm and make you a mess. A marvelous experience without a doubt but a sticky one too! This time around I decided that as good as these babies were, I wanted to bake; it’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve taken to baking plums and I regret those years of lost opportunity. Their sweetness is heightened; their firmness is totally resolved and yet they keep their shape and offer some texture and bite to the finished dish. Added to all that is one luxury…they do not need to be peeled! How perfect is that?
I knew what I wanted to make; it’s a summertime favorite and simple beyond compare. Suzanne Goins recipe for a Plum Tarte Tatin uses puff pastry in lieu of the standard pastry/pie dough. Maybe one reason I love it is because I allow myself the luxury of using purchased puff pastry without guilt. I’ve never made my own puff pastry and I doubt I ever will. Try to find an all butter product but if you can’t, I have yet to try one that has not worked beautifully.
There are still tons of plums available; the only thing I would recommend in your purchase is to try and get ones that are freestone; meaning their pits will release easily. Trying to use plums with pits that are not will result in a much less attractive finished product although I’ve done it and it still tastes great but just saying…if pretty is important; check the variety. Ask your grocer for assistance, what is available here in Denver might not be where you live but they should be able to tell you. One thing I really love when using them for baking? No need to remove the skin, no peeling, pulling or prodding required.
I hope you had some great plums this year…maybe you need to get just a few more and make this tarte!
Plum Tarte Tatin
Crispy puff pastry with the best of summer fruit makes a wonderful dessert for friends and family.
- 3 lbs plums
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (I used cane sugar)
- 1 sheet frozen, all butter puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Whipped cream or creme fraiche for topping (Optional)
- Cut the plums in half and remove the pits. Toss the plum halves with 1/4 cup of the sugar and let them stand for at least 30 minutes.
- Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet (or any heavy-bottomed pan that can be transferred from the stove to the oven) on the stove over medium heat and add the butter.
- Once the butter is melted and foamy, add 3/4 cup sugar and cook, swirling the pan regularly, until the caramel is a deep golden color (about six minutes).
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
- Drain the plums over a bowl, reserving their juices for a future recipe (cocktail?).
- Arrange the plum halves, cut side down, in the skillet of caramel, overlapping them slightly in order to pack in as much fruit as possible (they will shrink when cooked). I even cut some in half to fit areas around the outer edge.
- Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium-low for 20 minutes without stirring or touching the fruit at all. Let the plums and caramel cool before proceeding to the next step (I let mine sit for an hour).
- Preheat the oven to 375 and remove the puff pastry from the freezer.
- Allow it to just thaw until you can work with it.
- Cut a circle from the puff pastry the size of the top of your skilled and place it over the top of the plums; pinching the outer edge to fit if necessary.
- Pierce the pastry a few times with a fork, and brush it with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the remaining two tablespoons of sugar over the top, and bake the tarte for 45-55 minutes, until the pastry is golden and cooked through.
- Just before serving, invert the tarte onto a serving platter. The author suggests serving with creme fraiche but I've done it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream too.
My plums did not release much juice after a half hour so I let them got for a full hour. Still not much so I went forward. I love that they are so juicy but if some of the juice is not released your tart will end up mushy.