They call them Italian Plums; they are the plums that when dried go on to become prunes. I have always called them prunes.
As a kid I lived and grew up among the prune orchards of California. At one point we lived in the farmhouse of an old prune orchard that would later house the early entrepreneurs of the burgeoning Silicone Valley. The sound of the tractors and migrant fruit pickers in the morning was replaced by the rattle of Mercedes and Volvo diesels during the gas crisis in the late 1970s.
This tart has nothing to do with the Silicone Valley or our continual lack of an energy policy. It’s all about prunes and a taste of fall weather – actual normal temperatures now feel like fall. This desert is quite a bit richer and sweeter than the apricot tart I previously shared but equally delicious.
Chocolate Walnut Plum Tart
- 1/2 the Pastry recipe from the Apricot Tart
- 1 doz. Italian Plums, washed, seeded and cut into quarters
- 1/3-1/2 cup sugar
- About 1/2 cup shelled walnuts
- About 2 oz dark chocolate
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Roll out the pastry and fit into a 10” removable bottom tart pan, crimp the pastry into the sides of the pan, cut off any excess and either work into any thin spots of the edges or discard. Poke the bottom of the pastry with a fork, cover with plastic wrap and place back into the refrigerator to chill while the oven heats up.
- Grate the chocolate on a box grater, or chop fine and set aside.
- Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until fine. Add the chocolate and pulse to combine.
- Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and blind bake for 10 minutes. I did not put in the usual parchment paper weighted with beans and it came out fine.
- Mix the cornstarch and sugar together in a bowl, add to the plums and toss to combine.
- Remove the pastry shell from the oven. Sprinkle the walnut & chocolate mixture on the bottom of the pastry and spread around evenly. Place the plums on top; arrange them fancy if you want.
- Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until you see some bubbling of the plum juice.
- Cool slightly and serve with whipped cream.
I paired this with an off-dry Chenin Blanc, 2006 “Les Tuffeaux” from Francois Chidaine. It was a match made in heaven. The sweetness of the tart brought out a lovely nuttiness in the wine.