I have what I would call a mini garden on my balcony. There is a cherry tomato plant, some basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, chives, and some pretty purple flowers. I love stepping out there and grabbing fresh herbs for whatever I’m cooking. I would love to have the space for more, but for now this is it.
I do have access to some pretty stocked gardens though. My Aunt Christine has a backyard full of goodies. There’s all kinds of fruits and vegetables. And fruit trees, glorious fruit trees. She’s got a cheery tree, a couple of plum trees, and an enormous pear tree (some branches spill over into the neighbouring yards so they get to enjoy the fruits too). All this in a pretty small space. I’m pretty sure if she had a couple of chickens her home would be completely self-sustaining.
The plum and pear trees are both giving fruit now, and I’ve got some pretty impressive supplies of both so you’ll be seeing quite a few recipes for those fruits in the next few days.
The first is Bon Appetit’s Plum Tarte Tatin. The tart was very easy to make, although I did mess it up a little. The recipe didn’t specify if the plums should be peeled, so I peeled half of them and left the skin on the rest. Because I left the skin on the syrup turn a deep red very quickly. The instructions were to cook until the syrup reached that colour, but I knew it was too soon to stop cooking so I let them go. Turns out I overcooked them so they lost their shape a little. There was also a flipping incident due to my impatience (don’t rush it!)
Despite my mistakes the tarte tatin tasted amazing. The plums tasted almost like jam. The skins I left on gave it a really nice tart (as in mouth puckering) flavour. I definitely will make this again.
2 1/4 pounds sweet firm plums, halved, pitted
2 tablespoons plus 2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
- Roll out puff pastry. Cut a 9 inch circle, and chill for up to one day.
- Peel half of the plums. In a bowl, mix all the plums with 2 tbsp sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind, nutmeg and the seeds from the vanilla bean. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- Melt butter in a ovenproof 9 inch skillet over medium heat. Once melted, sprinkle the remaining sugar over the butter.
- Place the plums in concentric circles in the butter, cut side up. Pour the juices from the bowl over the plums. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. The syrup will have thickened slightly. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400.
- Once the plums have cooled, cover them with the puff pastry.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until pastry is golden. Let cool at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours.
- To flip onto a platter, heat the tarte for 3 minutes in a hot oven to loosen it. Place platter over skillet and flip (make sure you’re wearing an oven mit!) Let stand for 30 minutes.