John Barricelli, owner, baker, and chef of Connecticut’s SoNo Baking Company & Cafe, is no stranger on Chewing The Fat.
We love his recipes. The Connecticut baker has two locations there. In Norwalk, it’s at 101 Water Street. And in Darien, it’s at 49 Tokeneke Road. At both shops, he creates dozens of baked goods including this great Plum Tart. He first created it when he worked for no less than Martha Stewart. In addition to his TV appearances, his job description included planning the sweet side of the menu for Ms. Stewart’s weekend entertaining. When Martha requested a Plum Tart for dessert, he went all out, using 8 different varieties and plum hybrids—apricots, pluots, and plumcots. That will give you some idea of how versatile this recipe can be. You can even vary the size—choosing a traditional 9-inch tart or, as Andrew did, turning out 8-3 1/2 inch tartlets.
Two Tips from John Barricelli before you start your bake.
Number One: “Roll sweet dough with as little flour as possible. Too much flour makes the dough break and alters the recipe. When the dough starts to stick, slide an offset spatula or bench scraper underneath to free it and continue to turn it as you do so. Take time arranging plums to achieve a professional-looking dish.”– CTPOST “In the Kitchen with baker/chef John Barricelli” by Christina Hennessy, Oct 12, 2017.
Number Two: “Some bakers like to trim pie and tart crusts by rolling the rolling pin over the pie plate or tart pan. I warn against this as it can damage a wooden rolling pin, causing small indentations from the metal rim of the pan. Instead, I prefer to chill the dough, including the overhang, and then use the base of my palm to ‘push’ or ‘sweep’ the excess dough away and off the edges of the pan.” “The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook” by John Barricelli (Clarkson Potter 2010)
Now on to the recipe:
John Barricelli's Plum Tart
A take on a traditional French frangipane tart, this one features whatever your favorite plums are. Recommended varieties include Santa Rosa or Black Beauty..
- For the Pâte Sucrée: 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- For the Almond Cream: ½ cup blanched whole almonds
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons almond extract
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- For the Filling: ¾ cup apricot jam, strained
- 1¼ to 1½ pounds (6-8) ripe plums, halved, pitted, and cut into ½ inch wedges
- 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, for sprinkling
- Whipped Cream for serving (Optional)
- Step 1 Prepare the Pâte Sucrée: In a bowl, whisk the flour to aerate it. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about three minutes), scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through. Add egg and yolk. Mix to combine. Add flour and beat until it’s absorbed.
- Step 2 Scoop about half the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic. Repeat with the other half. Refrigerate until firm, at least two hours. Use half of the dough to make the plum tart and reserve the other half wrapped in plastic wrap for later. Refrigerate and use within seven days.
- Step 3 On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Fit dough into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, or alternatively into 3 1/2 inch tartlet pans. Trim the dough so that it comes slightly above the rim of the tart pan. Press the excess dough against the sharp edge of the pan rim with the heel of your hand to cut it level with the pan. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Step 4 Prepare the almond cream: In a food processor, pulse almonds with sugar and salt for about 10 seconds, until finely ground. Add butter, process to blend. Add eggs, processing until blended. Scrape bowl after each addition. Add almond extract. Add flour and process until combined.
- Step 5 Set oven rack at the bottom third of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick silicone baking mat.
- Step 6 With an offset spatula, spread tart shell with ¼ cup of apricot jam. Then spread with almond cream. Arrange plum wedges side by side, rounded sides down, on top of the cream. Press gently to settle. Place the tart on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Step 7 Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet about two-thirds of the way through. The crust should be cooked through and golden brown, with almond cream puffed and golden. Transfer tart pan to a wire rack.
Here are some other John Barricelli Recipes you might enjoy: