The orchard, summer’s sweet fulfillment, beckons each morning, before the heat sets in. With the passing of the month, more heavily laden boughs bend with the weight of fruits of the season. Long gone are the peaches, young berries and cherries of early summer: now is the time for slow maturing fruit, apples, pears, quinces, figs and plums. Today the ruby-red fleshed Satsuma plums announced their turn to be picked: not as sweet as the Mariposa plum of early January, but a close relative and a very good keeper.
Picking fruit is a kind way to wake up. I ponder the efficacy of the netting, and the man who meticulously netted, as I reach in to gently press the fruit, testing for perfect ripeness. An abundant season thanks to good spring rain, purple plums press against each other, nudging siblings for space on the bough, beautiful cheeks full of dark juice. As the basket fills, recipes come to mind- sweets of all kinds and savoury concoctions too, jams to put down for rustic winter crostate, spicy Chinese sauces, and poached plums to eat with yoghurt or labne.
I’ve made this tart often, and in the past with pears, apricots and cherries. It’s a seasonal standby. The apricot version is my most popular recipe on this blog. I’ve never had much success with growing apricots and so that version is a rare treat. Commercial apricots are picked too soon and never seem to fully ripen, tasting wooden and sour. This plum version is colourful and not too sweet. When choosing plums, make sure that they are juicy, fully ripe and are red fleshed. I should stress that they are not poached beforehand, but gently pressed into the top of the almond frangipane batter before baking.
Torta di Mandorle e Prugne con Amaretto. Italian Almond and Plum Cake with Amaretto.
- 125 g softened unsalted butter
- 150 g castor sugar
- 4 eggs
- 50 g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 375 g finely ground almond meal
- 2 Tablespoons Amaretto liqueur ( brandy works well enough here)
- red fleshed plums, such as blood plums, fully ripe, enough to fill the tart
- 25 g flaked almonds
- Preheat oven to 170 FF. Grease a 25 cm loose bottom tin and line with baking paper.
- Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixing bowl, then add eggs one at a time and beat for 5 minutes until thick and pale. If the mixture curdles, throw in a little of the measured flour.
- Stir in the flour mixed with the baking powder, then fold in the almond meal, followed by the Amaretto. Pour into the prepared tin.
- Arrange halved plums over the top and lightly press down so they are partly submerged. Scatter the top with the flaked almonds.
- Bake for 45- 50 mins. Cool in tin. Gently un-mould.
In summer, this tart keeps well in a covered box in the fridge. I reheat the slices a little before serving.
Links to my my previous plum concoctions.