Fresh Plum Crostata


I bought an entire bag full of gorgeous blush colored plums recently at our local street market in Deruta intending to make jam. In Italy it is frowned upon to actually grab the fruit to check how ripe it is so it wasn’t until I got home that I realized they were not ripe enough for jam. They were in fact quite firm, very tart, and quite delicious for eating, but certainly not great for jam. Since I had so many though I really wanted to use some of them for something other than snacking, so I decided to chop some up, mix them with a little jam as a sweetener, and use them in a rustic crostata. The results were a hit with all the Italian workmen who have come through our house recently and even my husband stated he preferred it to my usual basic jam crostata.

Strangely enough though, the chopped tart plums with the sweet jam combination when baked, ended up tasting almost exactly as rhubarb does when baked in a pie. I will give instructions for making the crostata exactly as I did using tart plums, but if you are using sweet dark plums, you probably will not need as much, if any of the jam. Use enough plums to completely cover the bottom crust by about 1 inch. The basic rustic cornmeal crust was adapted from a David Lebowitz recipe for Easy Jam Tart and is now my very favorite crust for any type of crostata I make. Although David chills his dough, I find it isn’t necessary, and I love just being able the press the dough mixture into the pan without having to chill and roll it.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Fresh Plum Crostata

A fresh plum tart with a tender cornmeal crust.

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 6 to 8 Plums
  • 1/2 to 1 Cup Plum Jam

Crust:

  • 9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Ground Cornmeal
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

Directions:

  1. Run a sharp knife around the plums and pull apart to remove the stone.
  2. Coarsely chop into about 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. Mix with the jam and set aside.
  4. Mix together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until well blended.
  5. Add the egg and egg yolk and continue to mix until smooth.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix just until the dough comes together.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  9. Take about 3/4 of a cup of the dough mixture and set it aside.
  10. Press the remaining dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  11. Spoon the plum mixture into the crust and use a spoon to smooth across the bottom crust.
  12. Using your fingers, break up the remaining crust mixture into small pea sized pieces and drop along the outer edges of the tart, leaving the center section of the crostata uncovered.
  13. Bake the tart in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until it is lightly browned.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
  15. To store, simply cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 5 days.
  16. Allow to return to room temperature before serving.

Adapted from a David Lebowitz recipe for Easy Jam Tart.