Monthly Archives: August 2013

What to do if you get your hands on Italian Prunes : Skillet Tart with Italian Prunes Recipe

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It has been quite awhile since I posted anything. We have been spending the last couple of weeks getting to know our new little girl, and the blog has been the furthest thing from my mind over this past month. However, we took a little family outing to a local farmers market this weekend and found Italian Prunes, the basis for one of our favorite desserts ever.

The husband and I found this dessert in Martha Stewart Living magazine about five years ago, in the days before children, when we cooked up elaborate dinners many nights (that has gone downhill with each child!). We used to be on the lookout for Italian prunes around this time of year so we could make this amazing dessert, but haven’t for several years and somehow, I lost the recipe. When we got home with the Italian prunes, I realized this travesty and had to scramble a bit to figure out how to make it. I was surprised in searching the internet that I couldn’t find this recipe anywhere. And, as much as I usually love being a declutterer, who loves to throw things out, I was cursing myself that I must have tossed this magazine.

So, since I can’t find this recipe on the web, and it’s so amazing, I figured I would post the version that my not so great memory tells me is pretty darn close to Martha’s. I used two different recipes I found online put together to get this. One was Martha Stewart’s Pate Sucree recipe- this part, I am almost positive was the crust basis of the original recipe. The recipe was featured in a skillet article, thus, this recipe was made in a skillet- which was awesome.

So, Pate Sucree in a skillet:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and sugar. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 20 seconds.

  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks; add ice water. With machine running, add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

  3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour.

I have a tiny food processor, and just halved the recipe so it could fit- you only need one of the crusts for this recipe- although you will probably be wishing, like me, that you had an extra. This crust is fantastic!

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After the crust is chilled, roll it out (I left it in the plastic wrap to roll out at first, because it can be quite crumbly). I rolled it out to a bit larger than the skillet bottom, so it would go up the sides. One great thing about the skillet is it’s totally ok if it looks pretty rustic (which it does!). This dough takes a lot of practice to get easy to handle, so a rustic approach saves some frustration. Butter, crisco, or oil and flour the bottom of the skillet than add the crust.
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Ok, so here’s where I had to find other help- I remembered that the Italian Prunes are cut in half and placed overlapping on the crust. But I couldn’t remember what it was I added to the prunes to help them get bubbly, and perfectly tasty. They don’t need much, I knew that- but it was something. So, I found this blog post –End of Summer Prune Plum Pie from the Kitchn- and varied it a bit- and I think between the two recipes, with a few variations, I got pretty close. Well, close enough it was gone WAY too fast, and we are going to have to hit the farmers market again very soon for more Italian Prunes.
So here’s my version of what to do after the crust:
Ingredients:

-1 prepared pate sucree
-15-20 Italian prune plums (about 1-2 pounds)- Honestly I don’t remember how much we had- Hopefully the pictures gives an idea.
-1/4 cup sugar
-1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in small cubes (I ended up using one extra Tbsp.)

– The original Kitchn recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, which I didn’t have, and I know wasn’t in the original Martha recipe, but is probably delicious. It works without, and I’m guessing with.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Slice the plums in half and discard the pits.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Pierce the pate sucree with a fork in several spots along the bottom. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the dry ingredients evenly across the bottom of the crust. Layer the sliced plums around in a circle, lining the crust as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the remaining dry ingredients over the top of the plums. Carefully tap the pie plate on the counter to settle the flour mixture between the plums. Dot the top of the plums with the butter slices.

Bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350° F and bake another 30-40 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and the crust is light golden brown. If, at any point, the crust begins to brown too deeply, shield it with a ring of foil.Image

Thank you to the Kitchn for helping me recreate one of our favorite recipes. My husband and I were both seriously sad when we thought we might not get to continue our Italian Prune end of summer delicious dessert tradition.

Now, we are only sad that it is gone! Well, I guess we can figure out how to make the same desert with our big box of peaches- Oh, how I love this time of year!

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