Summer is here. Or supposed to be... In Paris, it’s not very hot or sunny right now, you wouldn’t know it was summer if it were not for the fruits you can find at the market. That’s when you know that yes, this is the month of August. Yes, this is summer 2017. And no, you are not dreaming.
There are all kinds of plums at the Parisian markets right now, Reine Claude, red plums, little plums, and my favorite kind: mirabelles. They are small bites of heaven. They remind me of my friend Simon, and his mom. It was her who first introduced me to mirabelles many years ago, when I came to Paris as an exchange student to Sciences Po. They are as good now as they were then.
I made this simple tart for my husband to take to work a few weeks ago and he’s coworkers loved it, so I thought you might enjoy it too. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s delicious.
Makes one 20cm tart
For the Dough
All-purpose flour 125 g
Butter 65 g
Egg yolk 1 u
Sugar 45 g
Orange zests 1 u
Salt 1 g
For the Almond Cream
Almond flour 30 g
Powdered sugar 30 g
Butter 30 g
Egg yolk 1 u
Flour 3 g
For the Finishing Touches
Mirabelles 300 g
If you are using a stand mixer:
In a bowl sift the flour.
Using the paddle attachment, bring the butter to a consistency of mayonnaise or “beurre pomade” to use French terminology. Dissolve the salt in the egg yolk.
Add the sugar and the orange zests to the butter and mix it together at a low speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Incorporate the egg yolk and 1/3 of the flour. Mix together. Make sure to scrape de bottom of your bowl!!
Finally add the remaining 2/3 of the flour and mix until it’s incorporated into the batter. You shouldn’t mix very long (about 30/45 seconds). We want to prevent the activation of the gluten in the flour, because we don’t want the dough to become elastic! (It will shrink when in the oven!).
Form a rectangle of about 2 cm tall (it’s easier to roll it out after); wrap it in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hours. If you can do it the day before, even better!
If you are using your hands:
In a bowl mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar and salt) and the orange zests. Add the butter (cold cold) cut into small cubes.
Using your fingertips, break down the butter, until you obtain a sandy, grainy consistency. There should be pieces of butter still visible, and the color of the dry ingredients has changed towards a more yellowy tone.
Add the egg yolk and mix using one finger.
Transfer the dough onto your working surface and using the palm of your hand to smear the dough and obtain a homogenous mixture. (The technical French term is "fraiser"). You can repeat the operation up to 3 or 4 times.
Form a rectangle of about 2 cm tall (it’s easier to roll it our after); wrap it in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. If you can do it the day before, even better!
Bring the butter to the consistency of mayonnaise (you can use the microwave for this). Add the sugar, almond flour and flour and mix for a few minutes. Finally add the egg yolk. Mix to combine.
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Cut the mirabelles in halves and remove the pit.
Butter your tart mold or ring.
Roll out the dough to about 3 mm and line the mold.
Fill with the almond cream and spread it evenly! Top with the mirabelles. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden.
Remove from the oven and let it cool down at room temperature.