This recipe came to me in a dream. I am not even kidding you.
I’ve had a problem with having a consistent sleep schedule since I was a little kid. I remember staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning reading under my blanket with only a little night-light (possibly contributing to my horrendous eyesight as well as my degree in literature). With the Paris summer, during which the sun didn’t set until 10pm sometimes, and the fact that neither the gentleman nor I have to be in an office at 9am daily, I think it’s understandable that sometimes we don’t go to bed until the wee hours.
It’s worse when the gentleman is away. He at least feels a little guilt about being vaguely nocturnal; I don’t. Which is why I have sometimes found myself, in the last week, napping at strange hours, with the sun fully in my face.
Have you noticed that daytime nap dreams are stranger than evening sleep dreams? And I never have bad dreams during afternoon naps. They’re always whimsical things, probably because of all that sunshine seeping in through my eyelids.
But anyway, I dreamt that I had to, absolutely had to, make something out of the kilo of Reines-Claudes plums I picked up from the market. You know. Before the flies got them. The giant, fuzzy, cat-sized flies. The weird thing is that I wasn’t scared of the flies — I wanted to protect them. Because they would get tummyaches if they ate all of the plums.
So in my dream I made pretty little tarts with a swirly pattern of plum slices, studded with a few red currants left over from the red currant lemon tea cakes. Because surely fly-cats wouldn’t want the plums once they’d been baked!
Dream logic is weird. But these tarts are pretty sick, so thank you subconscious.
Green Plum Tarts
Makes four 12 cm (5 inch) tarts.
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 large egg
For the filling:
20 Reines-Claudes plums
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 fromage frais or marscapone cheese
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Heat oven to 350°F (180°C)
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and quickly rub it into the flour mixture with your fingers, until it resembles crumble topping. There should be some pea-sized pieces of butter left in the mixture. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl, then add it to the flour and butter mixture mix until just combined.
Separate the dough into four parts and press it evenly into the bottoms and sides of four 5-inch (12-cm) tart pans. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
Remove the tart dough from the refrigerator and line the inside of the tart with aluminum foil. Weigh the foil down with pie weights, dry beans, or do what I did and use ramekins. Blind bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
Pit and slice the plums into six wedges each. I found it easiest to make three evenly spaced longitudinal cuts all around the fruit, then pry each wedge off the pit with my fingers.
Remove the tart from the oven and remove the foil and pie weights. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Arrange the plum slices in a flower pattern in each tart shell and bake the completed tarts for 10 minutes, or until the plum juices are starting to bubble. Allow to cool, and serve.
Music to cook by: ;;; [Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps]