Love. Oh love. She holds my heart in her hand.
Well, actually it's a plum, which she stole off a tree in our yard, similarly to how she stole my heart two years ago.
My inlaws just celebrated fifty-five years of marriage this month. To celebrate, I had the family over for a Sunday dinner of Roast Chicken, Carmelized onion mashed potatoes, a side dish of garden tomatoes and fresh rolls. For dessert, I was inspired by a plum tart recipe from Tyler Florence who has a similar version in his book, Stirring the Pot. It is just like me to take a perfectly good recipe and twist it all up to make it my own, but I must give my chef friend (I wish!) Tyler some recognition for having great taste and inspiring the recipe that follows.
First of all, there is something mysterious and seductive about cutting into a blood orange and looking at its perfect, dark red flesh. A feeling of excitement and adrenalin come over me and I am tempted to sink my teeth into them like a vampire and extract the juice. Instead, I squeeze them into a pot and reduce with sugar to make a syrup, but for a small moment, I bet you were moved by the possibility weren't you? You just want to do it to see what it's like! I know the feeling. Further, the plums to use are those that are just barely over-ripe. These are sweet and juicy which will make your tarts sweet enough on their own and your presentation look perfectly imperfect. You'll see. Get out six ramekins and a 9x13 baking pan.
Blood Orange and Plum Tarts
3 blood oranges
1/2 t. zest from blood orange peel
1/4 C. sugar
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 stick butter
1 sheet store bought puff pastry, thawed
6 large plums cut in half
Vanilla ice cream
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine juice from oranges, sugar, salt, vanilla and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Cook, stirring often until a syrup forms, turns thick, and richly coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in orange zest.
Place one sheet of puff pastry on a prepared (floured) board and roll thin enough to cut six ramekin size tops. I use a cookie cutter slightly bigger than the circumference of the ramekin to do this and they are perfectly sized to fit the top of the dessert when they emerge from the oven after baking. They will shrink slightly when cooked, therefore, cutting them bigger is necessary.
Pour about 2 to 3 tablespoons syrup into the bottom of each ramekin. Fill ramekin with one half plum inside cut side faced down. Cut remaining halves into wedges. Carefully place three slices against the side in a circle around the inside of the ramekin. Top with circle cut out of puff pastry and load the tart team of six onto the baking pan. Bake at 400 for 25 to 30 minutes or until puff pastry is puffed and lightly golden. Let sit for 15 minutes to settle.
Serve with vanilla ice cream on the side. Love so sweet!
Stirring the Pot by Tyler Florence, 2008, page 198