Almond Custard Plum Tart

Greetings Travelers, Zeela here!  As some of you know, I love traveling in different worlds.  I have recently been spending a lot of time in Azeroth [World of Warcraft] and would love to share with you some of the food I have enjoyed. Today’s feature is an Almond Custard Plum Tart with shortbread crust and a sprinkling of fresh thyme.

The fair weather in the Broken Isles means lots of outdoor dining opportunities (you know, when the demons aren’t around).  The warm breezes are scented with olive trees and the sound of sea-birds can be heard all across the isles. There is plenty of soft harp music and you can tell that this is a place where art is appreciated, with silver filigree on dishes and soaring impressive architecture to take your breath away. Both the quel’dorei (Highborne elves) of Azsuna and shal’dorei (Nightborne elves) of Suramar create high-flavor dishes that feature feta cheese, almonds, several types of breads, and of course plenty of wine.  They are also known for outstanding rich desserts, and this is what I want to share today. 

This Almond Custard Plum Tart is one such dessert.  Elves of course are long-lived and don’t mind time-consuming recipes – but trust me, it’s worth it even for human cooks. The best time to make this is late summer when fresh plums are plentiful. This tart is ideal for enjoying with coffee overlooking a beautiful sunset. Allow yourself a day or two to put this together, since the crust has need of plenty of rest in between the steps.

(thanks to Emma Duckworth Bakes for the original Plum Frangipane Tart recipe)

Almond Custard Plum Tart

Rich frangipane tart with fresh plums, shortbread crust, and thyme.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Elven (World of Warcraft)
Keyword: Azsuna, Broken Isles, Elven, Summer, Suramar

Equipment

  • Tart pan with removable bottom

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups All-purpose flour sifted
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • 1/3 cup Powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp Table Salt (not Kosher Salt)
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted butter COLD and cut into small cubes
  • 2 Large eggs separated
  • 1-2 Tbsp Ice-cold water
  • 1 tsp Milk for egg-wash

Almond Custard Filling

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted butter ROOM TEMPERATURE
  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 cup Almond flour
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp Table Salt (not Kosher Salt)
  • 6-12 Fresh plums Enough to cover the top when sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • Fresh thyme leaves to garnish

Instructions

Shortbread Crust

  • Sift the flour, powdered sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Add the cold, cubed butter into the flour and rub the butter and flour together between your fingers until it resembles a bread crumb consistency with a few pea-sized pieces of butter still visible.
  • Beat one of the eggs in a small bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the beaten egg (the other one will be used later in the egg wash). Using a fork, mix the egg into the flour. Add 1 tablespoon ice-cold water and use your hands to bring the dough together. Add more water sparingly if needed.
  • Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface. Use floured hands to gently shape pastry into a ball, taking care not to overwork the dough. Flatten slightly into a disc and wrap well in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Remove the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and transfer it to a clean, lightly floured surface. Allow pastry to sit for about 10 minutes or so to soften just a little (to help prevent the edges from cracking). To roll out, lightly flour your countertop and rolling pin and using firm, even strokes, roll from the centre outward, turning the pastry a quarter turn every few strokes. Roll the pastry out to the thickness of a coin (⅛” thick) and into a 12-inch circle.
  • Flour the base of a tart tin with a removable bottom. Use the rolling pin to gently lift the pastry and place into the floured tin. Use your fingers to push the pastry up onto the sides of the tin and into the grooves. Using a sharp knife, trim off the excess pastry from the tin. Cover the crust in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out. Refrigerate the prepared crust for at least 1 hour or overnight to allow the pastry to relax and butter to harden.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the pastry from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap, then prick it all over with a fork. Line it with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or rice all the way up the sides. Blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and pie weights/rice (carefully, so the rice doesn't get everywhere).
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1 tsp milk to form your egg wash. Brush the base of the pastry with egg wash and return the pastry back to the oven to bake for an additional 7-10 minutes or until the base is dry and a light golden color. Remove from the oven and leave the tart base to cool. (Make the filling while this is cooling)

Almond Custard Filling & Plum Topping

  • Make frangipane (almond custard) filling while the tart base is cooling. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the room-temperature butter and sugar together on medium speed for 5 minutes until pale. (or cream together by hand if you want a good workout!)
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl every so often. Add the almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt, vanilla and almond extracts and mix until combined. Carefully pour the filling into the tart shell and spread out evenly.
  • Cut each of the plums in half and de-stone. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the halves crosswise into moons (so the slices are short, not long). Starting from the outside and working your way in, place your plum slices next to each other, spiraling in on top of the filling. Place the tart back in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the filling has set and is golden brown.

Garnish and Serve

  • Warm the honey in the microwave for 5-10 seconds, until it is just a little more liquid than normal.
  • Remove the tart from the oven and brush the plums with warm honey. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Notes

Refrigerate any leftovers and eat within two days. This is best fresh!