Since we live in a college town (there are 3 colleges in Amherst and two more in neighboring communities!), many of our friends are away during the summer when school is out. Labor Day is the magical date by which everyone has returned, so this year my husband and I have invited two couples we have not seen in months for a casual supper during this holiday weekend.
Our farmers’ market is at its peak right now so planning the menu was a dream. For openers I’m making golden corn cakes topped with swirls of creamy goat cheese and crumbled bacon. Grilled steaks garnished with Béarnaise butter (simpler and quicker than the classic sauce) will anchor the main course. One of the guests, a cooking pal of mine, is bringing Mexican street corn, a combo of grilled corn, jalapeños, lime, and spices bound in mayo and sour cream. A second side will be a salad of colorful heirloom tomatoes tossed in a crushed fennel seed vinaigrette.
For dessert, a plum galette will be served with dollops of honey-whipped cream. This free-form rustic tart is impressive, yet not hard to make. You roll the rich dough into a circle, cover it with a round of marzipan or almond paste, and next with sliced plums seasoned with sugar and spices. The sides of the pastry dough are then lifted and folded over to partially encase the filling. Baked until the crust is golden and the filling warm, this tart is always a crowd pleaser. It serves 6 to 8 and can be prepared several hours ahead. Happy Labor Day to everyone!
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Plum Galette with Honey Whipped Cream
1 cup flour
5 tbsp yellow cornmeal, plus extra for the baking sheet
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and diced into 1/2-in pieces
3 tablespoon ice water plus extra if needed
7 oz marzipan (see Market note)
1 1/2 pounds plums such as deep red Santa Rosas or other dark reddish/purple plums, unpeeled, rinsed, and dried well
3 1/2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 tsp grated orange zest
Cornmeal for dusting the baking sheet
1 tbsp butter, for dotting top of tart
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Honey Whipped Cream (Recipe follows.)
1.For crust, combine flour, cornmeal, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Add butter and process, pulsing, until mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, slowly add 3 tablespoons ice water. Stop machine to see if dough can be gathered easily into clumps. If dough is dry, add up to 1 tablespoon additional water and process a few seconds more. Remove dough, gather into a ball, and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 30 minutes. (See Cooking tip.)
2.For filling, press marzipan into a disk, place between 2 sheets of waxed paper, and roll into a thin 8-in round. Remove waxed paper carefully peeling it off, then place round on a plate and refrigerate uncovered to chill for a few minutes.
3.With a sharp knife, halve the plums lengthwise and cut out pits. Cut halves into 3/4-inch wedges and place in a large bowl along with sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, cardamom, and orange zest. Using two wooden spoons, mix well to combine until sugar and cornstarch have dissolved and plums are coated with a liquid glaze.
4.Place chilled dough between two sheets of waxed paper; roll into a 12-inch round. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon corn meal on a large unrimmed baking sheet. Remove one sheet of waxed paper and place dough (paper side up) on baking sheet. Remove other sheet of paper. Place circle of marzipan in the center of dough. Arrange plums on top of marzipan and spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of juices in bowl over them.
5.Fold outer 2 inches of dough up over filling to partially cover the filling. Dot plums in the center with the tablespoon of butter. Chill 1 hour.
6.Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until crust is golden and plums are bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove and cool 10 minutes. (Tart can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover loosely with foil and leave at cool room temperature. You can serve it at room temperature or reheat it in a preheated 350-degree F oven until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.)
7.Transfer tart to a serving plate and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Serve each slice with a generous dollop of Honey Whipped Cream. Pass remaining whipped cream in a bowl.
Serves 6 to 8
Market note: Odense marzipan (sweetened almond candy dough) is available in the baking section of most supermarkets. It comes in a 7-oz tube. Marzipan is sweeter than traditional almond paste, but almond paste can be used in this recipe in place of marzipan.
Cooking tip: To make dough by hand, combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles oatmeal flakes. Gradually add water, mixing just until dough holds together. Gather into a ball. To ensure even blending of flour and fat, pull off about 1/4 of the dough and place on a floured work surface. Smear dough across the work surface and repeat with remaining dough. Gather pieces into a ball again and flatten into a disk.
Honey Whipped Cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp sour cream
1.With an electric mixer on high speed, whip cream until soft peaks form. Reduce speed and drizzle honey into whipped cream. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Using a wire whisk fold in the sour cream. This will deflate the stiffly whipped cream slightly giving it a yogurt-like consistency. (Cream can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
Makes about 1 cup
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2023