When plum baskets hit the market shelves, I often draw a big breath, for summer stretches its last traces.
As much as I like hiking in the sun, and read a good book outside, summer does exhaust me in the long run. It starts to feel somehow oppressive with the ever-present heat, empty cities and the general sense of uneasiness the end of summer brings.
That being said, a girl has to cheer herself up, doesn’t she? And here’s when our plum tart comes into play. I think a few things can rival cake when it comes to lift the mood. Ice cream is obviously the indisputable ruler. But cake holds its place well.
It seems my favorite thing to bake is anything involving tart dough. Crostata, tart, pie, cookies, you name it. And I’ll bake it. Even more, I like to experiment with different flours, or make my family’s favorites vegan.
This plum tart was part of the development process for another recipe, but it turned out too good! And here it is. A buckwheat and hazelnut crusted plum tart, with ooey-gooey caramel hugging bite sized plum halves.
The ones pictured here are a local plum variety I believe to be from the prune family. There’s no need to be specific, any kind of small plum will do. These little ones grow wildly in the gardens here in the mountains. Leafy trees bearing glaucous plums border hay fields, with their fruits turning from greenish to purple marbled as the season progresses.
I swear I didn’t foraged for these little ones. I got a nice handful when I visited the local market with my sister. Picking the bag from the farmer’s hands I knew they were to be baked into some pie of sort.
People here in Valtellina often use buckwheat flour to bake or to make pasta, which they call pizzoccheri. One of the most famous cakes available here is a cross between a cake and a pie, filled with blueberries. The dough is made with buckwheat and wheat flour, and heaps of butter of course.
Since buckwheat is naturally gluten free, I wanted to try and leave gluten out completely. Blitzing hazelnuts in the food processor brilliantly solved more than one problem: they brought both extra flavor and healthy fat, which will help flavor wise and to build more structure into our dough.
There’s no need to grind the nuts extra fine. If you are lucky enough to have a powerful machine, you may run into the risk of making nut butter. Which isn’t bad at all, but definitely not what we’re after this time uh? A little bit of texture will do good to the crust.
Since there’s nothing but agave syrup that binds everything together, we’ll have to be careful handling the dough. Press it into the pie dish straight after it comes together, and stick the whole thing in the fridge while you work on the filling. The crust will harden and you won’t have crumbs falling all over the place.
I like to insert a round of parchment paper on the bottom of the pie dish, and a strip beneath the circle as well. They will make for easier release, especially if you grease the sides. You just have to lift the pie out of the dish!
This is the ultimate lazy pie. It’s just a matter of blending, cutting coconut oil into the mix of flour, pressing, and randomly spread the filling on top.
My favorite part has to be the caramel – which is nothing but coconut sugar, combined with the natural juices oozing from the plum filling. Does it get any better than this?
Late summer means one thing here: plum season! This plum tart has a GF buckwheat and hazelnut crust, a fruity filling and ooey gooey caramel in every bite.
dessert / treats
fruit pie, gluten free, plum, refined sugar free, tart, vegan
for the tart dough:
60gcoconut oil, solid and cut into chunks
cold water, if needed
for the filling:
roast and grind the nuts.
Preheat oven to 160 C.
Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 5-10 minutes until fragrant. Let cool slightly before proceeding with the recipe.
Run the food processor until the nuts are coarsely ground.
Bring the dough together.
If your food processor is strong enough and is fitted with a big bowl, add buckwheat flour, coconut oil, baking powder and salt to the ground hazelnuts. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Add agave syrup and pulse until dough crumbles into large chunks. If it feels too dry, add one or two tablespoons of cold water and pulse to see if it sticks together.
OR you can cut coconut oil int the dry ingredients mixture using a bowl and a fork – the result will be just as good.
Press the crust.
Grease a 20cm tart tin. Place a strip of parchment paper on the bottom, then layer with a circle of parchment.
Dump the dough mixture into prepared tin and evenly press it to form a nice bottom and even rims. Let it rest in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Prepare the filling and bake the pie.
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Wash and halve 300g mini or bite sized plums. Arrange them onto the hardened tart shell, sprinkle generously with coconut sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.