Thursday, September 6, 2012

CAKES AND FRUITS - PART V: Mirabelle Plum Tart with Honey Streusel

The fifth recipe in my "CAKES AND FRUIT" series features the wonderfully fragrant Mirabelle Plum.The Mirabelles are small golden plums that taste similar to regular yellow plums with a discernable taste of honey. The fruit is primarily used in jams and pies but also in clafoutis, compotes, gratins or fruit jelly and its juice is commonly fermented into a very famous mirabelle plum brandy. The mirabelles are also excellent when eaten fresh. The fruits are harvested from mid-July to mid-September.

These small plums originated in the Lorraine region of France, which is said to have an ideal climate for the cultivation of this fruit. Since 1996, the "Mirabelle de Lorraine" has been recognized and promoted by the EU as a high-quality regional product. The word "Mirabelle" originated from the Latin term "mirabilis" which means "wonderful" and "beautiful to look at". In Italy, it is a common name for girls. Mirabelle trees can also be found growing in a lot of gardens in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and other European countries.

Recipe for Mirabelle Plum Tart with Honey Streusel 
("Mirabellen Tarte mit Honigstreuseln")

Ingredients for the Pâte Brisée
(the recipe is enough for one large 30cm (12-inch) tart pan which I used)

  • 300 grams (2 ½ cups) AP flour
  • one pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp super fine sugar
  • 250 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water

Preparation of the Pâte Brisée

1. To make the pâte brisée, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar.
2 Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal, 8 to 10 seconds. You can also make the dough with a pastry cutter/by hand.
3. With the machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process in intervals of more than 30 seconds.
4. Pat the dough into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disc and wrap in plastic.
5. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least one  hour.
6. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the cold pâte brisée and fit it into your pie plate, preferably with a removable bottom, trimming excess dough if necessary.
7. Transfer the tart pan to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick dough all over with a fork. If the dough is too soft, transfer to refrigerator again and re-chill for about 30 minutes.
8. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit), line the unbaked tart with parchment paper and fill up with ceramic pie weights or uncooked rice or beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and paper and continue to bake for another five to eight minutes or until the crust is golden color.
9. Take out of the oven, place on a rack and let cool while preparing the topping.
10. Maintain heat while preparing the ingredients for the pudding and the streusel topping.

Ingredients for the Vanilla-Orange Pudding

  • 500 grams (about one pound) mirabelles or yellow plums
  • 65 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 450 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small bits
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • zest of one organic orange

Preparation of the Vanilla-Orange Pudding

1. Wash and clean the plums and set aside while preparing the vanilla pudding and the streusel.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch.
3. Whisk in milk, orange juice and cream.
4. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently, then boil, taking care not to "burn" the pudding. Continue whisking for about one minute.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in butter, vanilla and orange zest.
6. Transfer to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the hot pudding. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the Tart.

Ingredients for the Streusel Topping

  • 175 grams (1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp) AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • one pinch of fine sea salt
  • 80 grams (1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp) super fine sugar
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp honey (use a local honey if possible)
  • 50 grams (1/3 cup) slithered almonds

Preparation of the Streusel Topping

1. Stir together the flour, cinnamon, salt and sugar.
2. Using a pastry cutter (or fork), blend the butter and honey into the flour mixture.
3. Mix in the almonds.
4. Put in the fridge to cool while preparing the rest of the Tart.


one large tart pan 30cm (12 inches) with a removeable bottom
parchment paper
ceramic pie weights or dried rice/beans

For Serving (optional)

some confectioners´ sugar
extra honey

Putting together the Tart

1. If you turned off the oven after blind baking the pie crust, you have to pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) again.
2. Place the pre-baked and cooled pie crust to the baking sheet covered with parchment paper (same you used when blind baking).
3. Take your vanilla-orange pudding and with an off-set spatula spread it over the bottom of the tart as evenly as possible, do not worry about some lumps, they will smooth out during baking.
4. Halve the mirabelle plums and remove the pits.
5. Place the plum halves round side down on the pudding, gently push them into the pudding. The surface of the pudding should be completely covered with one layer of plum halves. NOTE: mirabelle plums need to be prepared at the last minute, otherwise they will discolor rather quickly.
6. Take your prepared streusel out of the fridge and spread it reasonably evenly over the top of the plums and the puddding.
7. Return tart to oven and bake for a good hour. Take out of the oven. Let the tart cool on the baking sheet. Remove the baked tart from the tart pan and transfer to a serving plate.

The honey that I used for this tart comes from a beekeeper that we trust. He sells his product at the country fair that inspired this week long series.

I chose a honey with a light floral taste and while I added some of it to the streusel, it tasted absolutely terrific when drizzled on top of the tart just before serving. Since the Mirabelle Plums taste a bit like honey, the fruit and the honey harmonized rather well in the Mirabelle Plum Tart.

If you cannot find Mirabelle Plums, you can substitute any other small yellow plums.


  1. Oh, my gosh...what an amazing tart! I'm now so curious about Mirabelle plums...but even more, I want a slice of your magnificent dessert!

    1. Liz, thank you so much for your nice comment! These Mirabelle Plums are delicious eaten raw but if you put them in a tart or cake, they are even more delcious tasting a bit like honey with a slight hint of vanilla. I will have to try and find some more today before they disappear for the season!

  2. I am always so impressed with people that have a gift for baking like you do. I don't think that even on a good day I could do this recipe justice. I have a friend who was looking for a plum recipe and has your baking skills. I'll send this along to her. Have a good weekend!

    1. Kristin, thank you so much for your lovely comment! You are too kind! Hope your friend will like this tart because it is wonderful and the different components harmonize well - honey, mirabelle plums, orange, vanilla, and almonds together in one tart are hard to beat.

      Have a great weekend!

  3. Now, this looks labor-intensive. I hope it really did taste absolutely terrific because it was a hell of a lot of work. I smiled that you called the "mixure" that you placed the half-plums into, a "pudding". I've never heard that expression used in relationship to a tart but you're absolutely right - it is a pudding-of-sorts. I am so glad to have a fruit tutorial this week. It's fun.

    1. Mary, this was very labor intensive, I admit it but it was absolutely delicious and no need to send a few slices over to the neighbours´ house this time, we devoured it at our house, not a crumb left. "Pudding" - "Custard"...I should probably have called this "Custard", translation can be a bit tricky sometimes. And I seem to be translating a lot these days, so even I am at a loss for the right words sometimes.