The Pure Pleasure of Purple Plums: Purple Plum Tart (Plómukaka)

Tom and I went on vacation to Copenhagen last month  -- along with a short side trip to southern Sweden -- so I've had Scandinavian baking on my mind lately. Soon I hope to start using the licorice powder, nougat, almond paste, and marzipan that I brought back with me. But in the meantime, I was happy to find a recipe for a "Purple Plum Tart (Plómukaka)" in The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas. She describes this tart as one that might be displayed in the window of a Reykjavik bakery. Ojakangas says it can be made with any fresh plums in season -- but since I still had access to Italian prune plums at the farmer's market, that was my fruit of choice.

This recipe is absurdly simple. It requires only five ingredients (well, I guess six if you count water): sugar, butter, flour, plums, and brown sugar. You don't need a mixer, or even a tart pan -- it's supposed to be baked freeform. To make the crust, you combine sugar, butter, and flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, and toss with some ice water until the dough holds together. You're supposed to roll out the dough into a 13-inch diameter round, fold the outside edge of the crust over to form a rim, and pinch to flute. I have loads of tart rings in lots of different sizes, so I used a 10.5-inch diameter tart ring to hold the crust instead of shaping it freeform. 

You arrange a pound of quartered plums on top of the crust and then sprinkle over a streusel-like mixture of butter, flour, and sugar. You bake the tart until the crust is golden and the topping is browned. I'm glad I used a tart ring because I really liked the neat appearance of the finished tart with the perfectly smooth and even sides.
This tart was freakin' delicious. I couldn't believe how satisfying it was given how few ingredients went into it, and it had just the right touch of sweetness. Each bite was all about the plums. Those flavorful, juicy plums. The buttery crust was nice and crisp. Each slice held its shape beautifully and you could even pick up a piece with your hands and eat it as a hand food. When I was making the tart I had pondered adding a little cinnamon to the topping mixture, but even without any added spice (or even salt), this tart totally delivered.
I definitely preferred this tart over the previous Italian plum desserts I made this season (Abigail Dodge's Italian Plum Almond Tart, Luisa Weiss' Yeasted Plum Cake with Streusel, and David Lebovitz's Spiced Plum Streusel Cake with Toffee Glaze). It was absolutely perfect and I wouldn't change a thing.

Recipe: "Purple Plum Tart (Plómukaka)" from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas.

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