A while back, I wrote about some of the favorite foods we shared during our annual family rendezvous in Big Sur. Someone asked for the recipe for the plum tart . This is the tart that Sarah made for the adults at our family cookout. Choose whatever sweet plums suits your fancy, although they should be free stone so that you can slice them easily. Use your favorite pie crust recipe, and bake the shell “blind” to receive the filling. The tart is best when topped with crème fraîche, whipped cream, or ice cream.

Plum tart


(Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Seasonal Fruit Desserts)


1 nine-inch pie crust, baked blind (see below)

1½ pounds fresh free stone plums, skins on

4 teaspoons brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

zest of one orange

⅔ Cup walnuts, toasted in a dry skillet and chopped finely

  1. Line a nine-inch pie pan with your favorite pie crust recipe. Crimp the edges, pierce the bottom several times with the tines of a fork. Line with aluminum foil, and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes in the middle of a 375° oven. Remove from the oven. Remove the weights and foil and cool on a rack.
  2. In the meantime, slice the plums and set aside.
  3. Combine the sugar, spices, and zest with a mortar and pestle to release the orange oils. Then toss with the chopped walnuts.
  4. Scatter ⅔ of the walnuts in the bottom of the pie shell. Cover with the plum slices, arranging them so that some of the skins are showing.
  5. Scatter the remaining walnuts over the top of the plum slices.
  6. Bake at 375° for about 35 minutes or until the plums have begun to release their juices.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8


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