With the plum season coming to an end it’s time to re-think the plum crumble on the restaurant menu. It’s still crumble weather so I don’t want to remove it completely – rather adapt it by replacing the plums with quinces. I want a fairly simple crumble topping to allow the delicately perfumed quince to shine through. A little hazelnut and brown sugar should work well.
When there are no plums we always have dates so I have played around with a few earthy flavours to develop a deliciously fragrant prune & Armagnac tart. A touch of zingy orange zest and some mellow cardamom compliment the classic French flavours perfectly.
Prune, Armagnac & Cardamom Tart
- Cream 125g of soft unsalted butter with 90g of caster sugar until smooth.
- Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time.
- Sift and beat in 250g of plain flour.
- Knead gentle and form into a ball. Chill.
- Knead lightly again and roll out.
- Grease a 12″ tart ring and lay in the pastry, pushing it into the sides. Chill.
- Line the pastry with baking paper, fill with baking beans (or rice) to weigh down.
- Bake at 180C for about 15 minutes. Remove paper and cook until golden brown and cooked through.
- Fill any holes with raw pastry and brush with egg wash to seal.
- Soak 250g of pitted prunes in a bowl of hot earl grey tea.
- Drain off the tea then roughly chop & pour over 2 shots of Armagnac.
- Bring 400ml cream & 100ml milk to boil infused with 5 crushed cardamom and zest of 1 orange.
- Beat 5 yolks & 2 eggs with 75ml of sugar.
- Pour hot cream into eggs and whisk together.
- Pass through fine sieve.
- Scatter prunes over base of pre-cooked tart.
- Pour over cream and cook at 150C for about 20 minutes – or until just set.
- Serve with whipped orange cream.