Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Italian Market and a tasty Plum Tart

      Where I grew up in upstate N.Y. there is a large Italian population, so there isn't much of a problem finding typical Italian foods and ingredients.  If you go into a grocery store and ask for broccoli rabe or capicolla you won't have a problem.  And there are always the Italian markets, bakeries, etc.  But, in my present location, not so much.  So, after asking around a bit and researching on the internet,  I discovered a great little Italian market called Carfagna's in Columbus, just under an hour away.  We usually make the trip every couple months (when the extra-virgin olive oil gets low. . . we go).  
       Well, Saturday was one of those days.  It goes without saying that there would be quite a bit of time and money spent, but it's something I look forward to.  

         Well on this trip, along with all the meats, cheeses, olive oil, special San Marzano tomatoes, etc. that we bought, I picked up some Italian prune plums which are in season through September and October.  They're great as a snack but also make a great filling for a tart.  I started with a recipe in the Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? cookbook.  I decided to use a different crust and change the filling a bit.  The result was a rustic, but very nice dessert served alone, with tea or coffee, or topped with whipped cream or a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.

                                                              Italian Plum Tart

Sweet Tart Dough:
1 1/2 cups + 3 tblsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 tblsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 stick + 5 1/2 tblsp. cold butter, in 1/2 " pieces
3 egg yolks
3/4 tsp. lemon zest

       Place the flour, b. powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine.  Drop in the butter and pulse 10-12 times until crumbly, with just a few larger bits of butter visible.  Add the egg yolks and pulse just until the dough begins to clump together in bigger crumbs.  Scrape the wet crumbs out onto your work surface and press together.  Knead for a few seconds to form a smooth dough that holds together.  Divide into 2 pieces. . . a 2/3 piece and a 1/3 piece.  Flatten into disks and wrap in plastic.  Chill 3 hours or up to one day before using.  Let come to room temperature 10-15 minutes  before rolling out.

1# Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered
2 1/2 tblsp. cornstarch
2 tblsp. raspberry liqueur
3/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar

      Stir to combine all the filling ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes.  (Now would be a good time to take dough out of fridge.)

To Assemble:
       Place the largest piece of dough between two 12"sq. pieces of waxed paper and roll out to an 11" circle.  Place back in refrigerator, still inside the paper, while repeating with the smaller piece of dough. Roll that one to a 9 1/2 " circle.  Place in refrigerator and let chill a little more.
       Carefully peel off the paper from the larger circle and center the dough over a buttered and floured 9" spring-form pan.  Press it down gently to cover the bottom and come 1" up the sides.  Press together if any of the dough tears.  Arrange the plums in concentric circles over the dough and spoon the liquid over the top (I didn't use all of it).  Cut the smaller circle into strips and lay 3-4 going in one direction and 3-4 going in the opposite direction to form a lattice.
        Place the pan on a sheet tray and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes. It's always good to check a little early in case your oven runs hotter.  You want the fruit to be bubbling and the crust to be golden.  Cool for 15 minutes, then remove the side of the pan.  Serve warm or at room temperature.



  1. When we first moved to Florida in the 70's, there were no Italian stores. People here put American cheese on their pizza! Luckily, things have changed!

    Your tart looks just like the crostata we make. Also really good filled with apricots! One of my favorite Italian treats!

    1. Joann @ The Italian Next DoorOctober 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM

      Oh, American cheese, really?? Yes, luckily things have changed! Crostatas are so easy and delicious. Apricots....I hadn't thought of that. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the tip!