A tart plum topping arranged on sweet rosemary shortbread crust is the perfect dessert to transition your taste buds to fall. Smaller and firmer than other varieties, Italian prune plums retain their juices while baking so your tart shell stays crisp and buttery.
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Rosemary Shortbread Tart Shell
½ cup unsalted butter softened
1/3 cup (45 g) icing sugar
½ tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 ¼ (195g) cup flour
¼ tsp salt
1 lb Italian prune plums (roughly 16)
1/3cup (70 g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp lemon zest
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the softened butter and icing sugar until completely combined. Stir in the rosemary until evenly distributed. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and stir until the mixture looks crumbly. Use your hands to squeeze the mixture into a ball, which will help bring it all together and ensure that there is no flour left unmixed.
Place the ball of dough into a 9-½-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan and a few centimetres up along the side of the pan. Tip: Once the dough is roughly in place you can use a measuring cup with straight sides to push the dough into the edges of the tart pan and flatten it on the bottom of the pan. Place the tart shell in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up.
While the shell is in the freezer, slice each plum into four equal slices and discard the pit. Gently stir the sliced plums, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest together in a medium bowl. (It might seem like there is too much dry mixture, but as the plums release their juices it will turn into syrup.) Set aside.
Once the shell is firm, prick it all over with a fork and cover with a piece of tinfoil. Pour either pie weights or dry beans on top of the tinfoil to prevent the shell from puffing up while baking. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully remove the tinfoil with the pie weights or beans. The shell will look buttery and unbaked. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 and bake uncovered for an addition 10-15 minutes until the shell looks dry and is very pale gold along the edge. Remove shell from oven, and cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.
Stir the plums and sugar mixture thoroughly to coat the plums in their syrup. Arrange the plum slices in circles overlapping each piece. If you get to the middle of the tart and still have slices left over, just tuck them in wherever there’s space. Use a spatula to scrape all the syrup from the bowl and drizzle over the arranged plums. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 50 minutes at 350 until the edges are golden and the plums are soft and orangey red. Remove tart from oven and allow to cool for at least 40 minutes before serving. Serve warm with whipping cream or a scoop of ice cream or enjoy at room temperature with a mug of coffee. Serves 8.