Crostata di prugne-Plum jam tart

Notes from Italy

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Our local prunes are called cosce di manaca or nun’s thighs. Could it be because they are so sweet? It make a simple jam with them in July when it seems like its raining plums: 2 o 3 pitted plums to one third sugar by weight, cooked until quite thick, then pureed with a food mill. Any think jam or preserves can be used in this tart. The short pastry crust is known as pasta frolla in Italy.

Short pastry crust

  • 4 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon backing powder
  • ½ teaspoon backing soda
  • 1pound could unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 5 large eggs
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups plum jam or your favorite flavor
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1-tablespoon water
  • I tablespoon granulated sugar.

For the crust: in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt baking powder, and baking soda. Stir with a whisk to blend. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, work or cut pieces into the flour mixture to form pea sized crumbs

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. Whisk to blend well. With a fork, stir the eggs in to the flour mixture, blending just until incorporated. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and press the dough gently in to smooth rectangle for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven at 350 f. line a backing sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll two thirds of the dough out a 12 by 15 inches rectangle. Transfer it to the prepared pan, and spread the jam evenly over the pastry, leaving ½ inch border.

Roll out the reaming dough and cut ½ inch wide strips. Criss cross the strips diagonally on the top of the tart, making a lattice design. Brush the lattice wit egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is gold. Let cool completely and cut into square to serve.

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