Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Plum & Cobnut Tart

There was a lot of baking going on in our house last weekend.  I was recipe testing choux pastry for a chocolate & salted caramel Paris-Brest. But even with a litre of chocolate custard in the fridge and a tin full of choux buns, all I wanted to eat was something else. A more homely bake. Fine patisserie is all well and good (and it has its place - it was the only thing I craved during my last pregnancy when I went on the hunt for the best mille-feuille I could find in London...) but there are times when I much prefer a simple, home baked tart.

This one is autumn in tart form. Plums. Cobnuts. Perhaps served with a big spoonful of clotted cream.

I can't quite believe that I had never tasted, let alone cooked with, a cobnut until a couple of weeks ago. All those years missing out on what is a very tasty nut. Still, I'm on the case now (just as the season starts to draw to a close...).  


For the pastry:

125g plain flour
25g icing sugar
75g unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
5ml cold water

For the frangipan:

100g fresh cobnuts, shelled weight
25g ground almonds
125g unsalted butter
125g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
2 eggs

For the plums:

300g sweet plums
2 tbsp golden caster sugar


Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan) and prepare a 23cm deep fluted tart tin.

Start by making the pastry.  Mix together the flour, sugar, butter and salt until it looks like breadcrumbs.  Whisk the egg yolk and cold water together and then add to the flour mixture to bring it together to form a ball of pastry.  Handle as little as possible.  Shape into patty, wrap in cling film and put it in the fridge for at least half an hour.  (I usually make a double quantity of pastry and then put half in the freezer for next time).

Roll out the pastry and line the tart tin.  Prick the base of the pastry with a fork all over and put it back in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to chill.

Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans and blind bake it for 15 minutes.  Remove the parchment and beans and bake for a further 6 or 7 minutes until the pastry has just begun to turn golden brown.

Reduce the temperature of the oven to 180C.

Whilst the pastry is cooking, prepare the plums and the frangipan.

For the plums, halve them all and remove the stones.  Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp golden caster sugar over the cut sides of 14 plum halves and put them to one side.  Put the remaining plums and 1 and 1/2 tbsp golden caster sugar in a small pan and cook over a medium heat until the plums have broken down to look like a chunky jam.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then remove the skins.

To make the frangipan, roast the shelled cobnuts for around 10 minutes.  Put them into a food processor and roughly grind.  Add the ground almonds, golden caster sugar, unsalted butter, plain flour and eggs to the food processor and mix to form a smooth paste.

Spread the plum 'jam' over the base of the pastry case, then spread the frangipan mixture over the top, taking care to cover all of the plum jam.  Gently press the plum halves into the frangipan cut side up.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until the frangipan is a light golden colour and cooked through.

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