Three weeks before my eleventh birthday we, that is my parents, me and my two younger brothers, moved to a small town in the Northeast of the Netherlands. Our new house had a huge garden, well in my eleven year old eyes it was, and in my memories it is probably bigger than it actually was. In this garden we had two ponds with fish, a small corner for my rabbit, lots of flowers, and three fruit trees: one apple tree and two plumtrees. Almost every year at the end of summer we would have so much fruit from our trees, we hardly knew how to get through it. Even though we were with five, and we gave a lot of the fruit to our neighbours and friends.
The apples were of a sort that is not really great to eat, but work amazingly well in baked goods. So we baked a lot of apple pies. My father and one of my brothers would sit at the table in the kitchen, peeling, coring and chopping apples. My mother thought me how to make dough and I added sugar, cinnamon and raisins to the apples. And my youngest brother would come by, or sometimes sit with us, to eat some pieces of apple. Some years we had so many apples and thus apple pies, we would keep them in the freezer for later. I think I see now why I was so incredibly creative with cauliflower (link) this summer. It is in my genes.
With the plums from our trees we were just as creative: the pretty ones we would eat, and give away, and from all the excess plums my parents would cook jam. And then we had so much jam, we would also give jars of jam to anyone who came to visit us, or to people we went to visit. One of my father’s favourite things to do was to put the plum jam on apple pie. So we ended up with apple pies coated in plum jam in the freezer.
I completely forgot about this, until recently. This summer, a lovely lady asked me if I liked plums, and when I answered positively, she gave me some from her garden. Just like we used to do with our plums. On my way home, I was thinking about what I should do with them, when I realized I never bought plums in the eight years since my parents moved out of this house and I moved away to go study at university. This might have something to do with the amount of plums I have eaten in the years we had these plum trees. And now that I’m thinking of it, I didn’t bake that much apple pies either. But when I do, I still use the same recipe.
With these plums I wanted to make something new, although I must confess that I also made plum jam recently (so much for originality), so I decided to make a plum tart.
A recipe for a plum tart that is low in sugar.
Crust (makes 2 tarts)
- 150 g cold butter in cubes
- 250 g flower
- 30 g icing sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp cold water
Filling (for 1 tart)
- 300 g quark or dairy free alternative
- 3 eggs
- 50 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 - 8 large plums
- 30 g butter
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- A handful flaked almonds
Combine butter, flower and sugar with your fingertips* into a crumb. Add the egg and the water and knead until the dough just comes together. Don’t overwork it. Roll into a ball, put in a bowl, cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Beat eggs, quark and sugar until fluffy and lighter in color and texture, about 5 minutes.
Halve the plums and remove the seed. Heat butter, sugar and cinnamon in a frying pan and fry the plums cutting surface down for three minutes.
Preheat oven to 175ᵒC (350ᵒF).
Roll out the dough and line a cake tin with it. Put the filling in. Distribute the plums, cutting surface up, over the filling and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and firm.
The recipe for the pie crust makes two pie crusts, because I find it easier to make two at once. The dough freezes well. Just let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Feel free to make half of the recipe.
*If you are just as fuzzy as I am about sticky dough on your hands (I just cannot get used to it), you can make the dough in a food processor using the pulse button.