This is a wonderful French dessert that is traditionally made during the holidays. If you love almond paste, you will love this tart. It is a bit involved because of the crust, but the accomplishment you'll feel when you have a beautiful plum tart is reward enough to put in the effort. If you are not a fan of plums, you can use a different or favorite fruit as substitute. I like to serve this elegant dessert with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. Coffee also goes splendidly with this tart. The original recipe is from The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book and is called the 'Plum Frangipane Tart'. The tart pastry is also in the book. I hope you give this fantastic dessert a try!
If you so desire, you can make the crust in a food processor. I find that the crust comes out really well this way.
Pulse the flour and salt to mix.
Evenly distribute the butter and shortening on top of flour mixture; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
With the processor running, pour 1/4 cup ice water though the feed tube; do not overmix! Mix just until the dough holds together when pinched with your fingers.
If the dough does not hold together, add up to 2 tablespoons additional ice water. Distribute water with a fork.
Refrigerate and roll as directed.
You can read my earlier blog post on pastry dough tips (click here). There is good information that can be applied to this recipe.
If you don't like plums or just wish to experiment, here are a few other fruit options for the tart - peaches, apricots, and cherries.
Preparation time is 45 minutes plus chilling. Bake time is 1 hour 20 minutes.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.
Pastry for 11-inch tart
1 tube or can (7 to 8 ounces) almond paste, crumbled
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 pounds ripe plums (5 large), pitted and each cut into 6 wedges
Ingredients for 11-inch Tart Pastry:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine (1 stick), cut into pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Directions for 11-inch Tart Pastry:
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives used 'scissor-fashion', cut in the butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with a fork after each addition, until the dough is just moist enough to hold together.
Shape the dough into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes or up to overnight. (If chilled overnight, let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling.) On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 14-inch circle. Ease the dough into the 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Fold overhang in and press the dough against the side of the pan so it extends 1/8 inch above the rim. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Fill and bake as directed in recipe. Makes enough pastry for one 11-inch tart shell.
Directions for Plum Tart:
Prepare pastry dough as directed above. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Use dough to line 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Line tart shell with foil; fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake 15 minutes. Remove foil with the weights; bake until golden 4 to 5 minutes longer. If the shell puffs up during baking, gently press it down with the back of a spoon.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, with a mixer at low speed, beat the almond paste, butter, sugar, and salt until almond paste is crumbly. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until well blended, about 3 minutes, frequently scraping bowl with a rubber spatula. (There may be some tiny lumps.) Add eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour. Pour almond-paste mixture into the warm tart shell. Arrange plums in concentric circles over filling. Bake until golden, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack. When cool, carefully remove the side of the pan. Makes 12 servings.
(edited by Anna Weicht)