Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Mirabelle Plum Tartlettes

As some of you from the Italy Magazine may well know I have been blessed and perhaps cursed by a glut of Mirabelle plums. When I first saw them on the trees I couldn't believe that I had been so lucky. They shone golden and tempting in the afternoon light and I couldn't wait to eat them warm from the tree. I had pictures of Elizabeth David's descriptions of eating apricots warm from the tree on my mind. Well. I'm glad to say that that delight did not fall short of the expectation and the ripe plums were honey sweet and delicious.

Where does the curse come into the equation? There are so many. It is impossible to eat them all so the great cook in of the plums had to begin and I have started with these delectable little tartlettes to whet your appetites.

First the pastry
150g plain flour
90g butter
1 egg
50g sugar

Make the pastry by creaming the butter and sugar until soft and white. Beat in the egg and then add the flour and lievito. Mix together to form the pastry. If it is too soft then add a little more flour. This should not be as firm as a traditional pastry as it will not be rolled out, but pushed into the tartlette cases instead. Now proceed to do just that.

Divide the pastry into approximately 12 pieces and pat each piece into shape in the tartlette tins.

I've become a convert of the silicone bakewear that has flooded the market in the last few years. It is easy to use, the things that you bake in it don't stick and it is easy to wash. End of discussion as far as I am concerned. Another advantage for using silicone bakewear for making these tartlettes is that they can remain in the cases until cool. They can then be pushed out without having to resort to a knife to prise them out. This is especially good for rich pastries.
Remove the stones from about 24 plums and push, skin side up into the pastry. I didn't bother to sugar the plums as they take their sweetness from the pastry and I like a little sharp contrast to the pastry.

Bake in the oven at about gas mark 5 until they are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and when cool enough take out of the cases. Do not do this too soon as the pastry is rich and will break when warm.

Dust with icing sugar, or if in Italy, buy the sugar that is sold for dusting as it will not melt. Now eat them. But I didn't need to tell you that, did I?.

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