Hungarian Plum Tart

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Yield:

    6–8

    servings

Appears in

In the course of the two days of Rosh Hashanah, she also eats a plum and a pear-fruits she has not tasted earlier in the season. As a child I always marveled: where did she find the strength and patience to keep herself all summer long from sampling the fresh fruits in her own baskets, so as to be able to recite the Sheheheyonu over them on the New Year.

CHAIM GRADE, MY MOTHER’S SABBATH DAYS

Jews save a special fruit for the Rosh Hashanah Sheheheyonu: a blessing made over fruit savored for the first time that season. For many, the taste of Rosh Hashanah is the midnight blue prune plum that begins arriving in markets at the tail end of the summer. Carole Goldberg’s mother brought the recipe for this simple but sublimely fresh prune plum tart from her native Transylvania, where her family prepared it to greet the holiday at the beginning of this century.

Explosive with deep ripe fruit flavor and a dusting of cinnamon, it is more a cross between cobbler and crunch than a traditional tart. I have modified the original recipe slightly. Carole uses pareve margarine so she can serve the tart at a meat meal; I prefer it with the clean, sweet taste of pure butter, perfect as a teatime treat for company with a generous dollop of ice cream. Either way, it is delicious and a snap to prepare.

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Ingredients

  • 20–24 fresh prune plums, pitted and quartered, or 6–8 pitted black plums, cut into sixths or eighths (depending on size of plums)
  • ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • About 1 cup granulated sugar, according to taste
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (omit if using margarine)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter or pareve margarine, melted, plus additional for greasing the pan

Optional Accompaniment

  • vanilla or coffee ice cream or freshly whipped heavy cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a 13- by 9-inch greased baking dish, arrange the plums cut side up in a single layer. Stir together the brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and the cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkle the mixture over the plums. In a large bowl, using a fork, blend together the granulated sugar (use up to 2 tablespoons less than 1 cup if you prefer, as I do, a less sweet dessert or if the plums are particularly sweet), remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt, egg, and almond extract until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Crumble it over the plums. Drizzle the melted butter or margarine over all and bake the tart in the middle of the oven for 35–45 minutes or until the plums are tender and the topping is golden.
  2. Serve the tart at room temperature, accompanied by ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. It is also wonderful warm from the oven, especially with the cool contrast of the ice cream.

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