Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Botanicals and Tarts

Moda Fabrics and Spoonflower decided this year's Fabric8 competition theme would be Botanical Sketchbook. I've never designed a Botanical before. I love the way they look but, there are only so many things you can do with them and so many other people have done such lovely work already... But you know, I would love to be a Moda designer. Moda cottons have such a lovely hand to them and so I had to try.

Practice botanical... (not actual entry)

I lost track of Fabric8, but realized at the last minute that it was still happening and the deadline was looming. I had to scramble to enter. The deadline was yesterday, and I just made it. (Whew!) Ongoing computer issues made it deplorably slow to upload and it was anyone's guess if the internet would stay connected long enough to actually load, ...But it finally did. 

[My internet connection has decided to not work when it rains, or there's a wind, or the sun is shining, or if it's too dark... I'm more offline than on these days, though not by choice!]

Blushing "Green" Gage Plums
During this time the Plums have decided to ripen. They are lovely! Although they are not so Green as I expected my Green Gages to be. I suspect they are either a nursery mislabel, or a scam of sorts (what do stupid Americans know about European fruit anyway?) They are perhaps still a Gage Plum, but one of the red sorts, or more accurately a  Reigne Claude, as they are blushing away like crazy out there. 

Five years later it is a little late to return them; if I remembered which nursery they were from or wanted to dig back through paperwork, which I don't. So it is just as well that I am happy with them. 

The question is: When life hands you a nice lot of ripe plums, what do you make of them? Tarts, of course.

A Nice Plummy Tart

Begin by blind baking the crust and enough plum halves (sprinkled in sugar) to fill the bottom of your tart pan later. I used 18 here but you may need to adjust if your plums are larger. If your plums are smaller you actually may be looking for a cherry tart recipe. Add a tablespoon of sugar to this recipe for shortcrust and you will have an excellent crust for this tart.

Empty crust on left, pre-baking plums on right.
Bake at 325 degrees about 15 minutes.
I leave my pizza stone in the oven to help distribute and radiate
the gas heat a little better (that's what you see at the bottom there).

For the rest of the filling we make a custard. And we will make it with non-fat powdered milk instead of cream. After all, we just used real butter in our shortcrust. We have to pretend to be healthy somewhere -- also I was out of cream and who has time to run to the store for that?

3/4 cup milk, mixed according to directions on the box
1/4 cup extra, dry powdered milk
3 eggs beaten
1/4 cup sugar 
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg 

Combine in bowl.

Put pre-baked plums into blind baked crust and pour custard over them.
Then back in the oven to bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.

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