Blue Goose Italian Prune Tartlets for the First Day of Fall

IMG_8826

It is an afternoon of dramatic lighting, rain and thunder.  Much needed cooling temperatures and a bowl of Blue Goose Prunes for baking simple tartlets.

They sit in an old metal bowl as  the light slowly dims seeming to have an inner glow.

DSC_1158

I am enchanted with the texture and flavor. Somewhat like a plum but not…smaller and more oval, just a bit dryer in texture but every bite as sweet.  I do think they will be wonderful baked in a simple crust.

DSC_1194A rare sight is a bag of fresh prunes in my local grocery.  Why is this? It seems this particular and specifically grown Italian prune, which is not eaten dried but fresh,  has a short growing season and is pretty uncommon in the Southern USA. A good reason to try these beauties while I have the chance.

DSC_1168

Cut in half and easily pitted….tossed with dark brown sugar & Ligonberry liqueur I leave them to macerate for about 20 minutes.

DSC_1175

Some whipped cream cheese blended with lemon zest and a bit more brown sugar.

DSC_1179

See how beautiful the flesh of the prunes are after their soaking? I am using some thawed, frozen homemade pie dough, rolled out and cut into squares, with a smear of the cream cheese mixture before adding a 5 prune halves.

DSC_1180

I gathered the dough up and around the fruit and then drizzled the leftover juice from the bowl of fruit into and over each tartlet. Ready to bake on a parchment paper lined sheet pan…..

DSC_1185

25 minutes later….warm, juicy fruit in a crispy, not soggy bottomed, crust!

IMG_8829

Finished with a  dusting of powdered sugar..

Blue Goose Italian Prune Tartlets

DSC_1191

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Blue Goose Italian Prunes (or any other fresh prune or plum)rinsed & patted dry
  • Pie crust dough for a double crust pie (homemade, refrigerator crust, frozen)
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup Ligonberry liqueur (or any not too sweet fruit liqueur)
  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese at room temperature
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Half and core the prunes and place them in a mixing bowl.
  3. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the dark brown sugar and the Ligonberry liqueur over the prunes and toss well. Set aside for about 20 minutes for fruit to macerate. Toss with a spoon a few times during this time.
  4. In a small bowl blend the softened whipped cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lemon zest and juice together until spreadable.
  5. Meanwhile roll out pie crust dough on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle. Cut into 6 squares. Each should measure about 6 x 6 inches more or less.
  6. Smear an equal amount of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of each square and top with 4 or 5 prune halves. Gather the dough edges up and around the fruit mixture to create a pouch with an open center. Place each one on the prepared sheet pan not touching.
  7. There will be some sugared fruit syrup left in the bowl where the prunes were macerating so pour this evenly into the openings of each pouch letting some run over the outside of the dough.
  8. Place sheet pan in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until tartlets are golden brown and crisp on the outside with a bubbly fruit center.
  9. Remove pan from the oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving dusted with powdered sugar. These are also very good the next day cold or at room temperature.

Teresa Blackburn       http://www.foodonfifth.com     http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

End-of-Summer (5 Ingredient) Refrigerator Plum Jam with Calvados

DSC_6291

DSC_6303

Plums have been plentiful this summer and when just ripe, but still firm, they make the best jam. Jam you will appreciate a few months from now when days are shorter, darker and summer flavors just a memory.

I love plums and have often shared recipes and plum stories with you here at Food on Fifth.  There have been Plum ClafoutisPlum Yum Almond Cake and Stone Fruit Skillet Cake with Maple Drizzle among others.

The plums you see in the photo below were ones left unused after a photo shoot. They had time to sit out on the studio counter ripening all week and went home with me at week’s end.

DSC_6245Three simple ingredients and two special ones, Calvados and Cardamom! Calvados is a good flavor-pairing with fruits when making cakes, pies or jams, due to it apple origins. It is a French apple brandy, starting out as apples, fermenting into a cider, aged in oak casks to become Calvados. Cardamom…I cannot say enough good things about this spice… with its strong spicy sweet taste adding seductive aromatics with just a pinch!

DSC_6257

Four pounds of plums with peels left on…making this recipe even easier!

DSC_6267

Sugar, ground cardamom…plums cooking down….Calvados & lemon zest added at the end of cooking time…

DSC_6269

Spooned into clean glass canning jars, topped off..ready to give away or refrigerate until ready to use. By the way…very yummy spooned over sponge cake or ice cream while still warm! And how about serving this with your roasted hen or turkey instead of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving? Nice!

DSC_6283

DSC_6290

Beautifully messy.

DSC_6307

From my summer travels: “Plums in Budapest” # 1 and #2 iphone images

IMG_7485 IMG_7539

Simple Summer (5 Ingredient) Refrigerator Plum Jam with Calvados

  • Servings: 8cups
  • Difficulty: easy-as-pie
  • Print

DSC_6291

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs plums, pitted, unpeeled and chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup Calvados
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon zest

Directions:

  1. Put chopped plums & sugar in a large non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a low boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken and plums break down.
  2. Stir in cardamom and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Stir often and skim any foam from the surface of the mixture.
  3. Add Calvados & lemon zest. Simmer another 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Place pan on a cooking rack so air can circulate around the pan to cool it down faster. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon plum jam into sterilized glass canning jars. Wipe rims of jars clean, top with lids and allow to cool completely.
  5. Jam will keep in refrigerator for up to 1 month.  If you do not give some of this fine jam away to your friends (they will be forever grateful I promise) then freeze for later.

Note on freezing: If you plan to freeze some of these jars of jam then fill jars leaving a 1″ head space to allow for jam to expand when frozen. I did not do this many years ago and upon opening my freezer I found jars of jam exploding out of the top of the glass jars! The lids had been pushed completely off! Now I allow for that!

 

Teresa Blackburn        www.foodonfifth        www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Resources:

Red and White hand towel – http://www.ikea.com/

Canning jars – http://www.jarstore.com/Jelly-Mason-Salsa-Jars_c_41.html

Vintage glass canning funnel, silver spoons, Vintage Kobe Turquoise saucepan – my prop collection but check out Etsy or ebay for similar items

Blue enamel colander – World Market  http://www.worldmarket.com/category/dining-kitchen.do?nType=1

Travel Budapest – http://www.afar.com/travel-guides/hungary/budapest/guide