Plum Almond Tart

In the midst of the chaos that accompanies the beginning of the school year, my mind has been absent from the kitchen, fixating on my new students and lesson plans instead. These early school days can be long and exhausting, as we all look for a new footing and gradually settle into a routine, developing the new rhythm of another year.

Knowing of the movement on the horizon, on the final day of summer vacation I made it a point to spend a slow afternoon in my favorite location—the kitchen. Since plums have been especially sweet this year, I wanted to make the fruit the feature of my next pastry. With this tart, I consider the goal accomplished. The bright flavor of the plums stand out, complemented by a buttery crust and a sweet, rich almond filling. It was difficult to keep my fork away for longer than a few hours, as I pilfered bites between meals.

While eating another rushed meal from a box for dinner this evening, my mind drifted back to the lethargic days of summer. The setting of the sun feels too early recently, the dark evenings making the summer months seem more than a couple weeks away. I sliced a plum for dessert, eating it while watching the sky turn orange. While I am excited for the weeks ahead, it is nice to take a moment and bring back the flavors of a simpler moment in time.


This Plum Almond Tart allows the sweet summer fruit to shine. It begins with a buttery tart crust filled with a rich almond filling. Then, sliced ripe plums are pressed into the top before baking. In the oven, the fruit roasts and the filling toasts. The tart can be served warm or chilled, depending on personal preference. I prefer the first slice warm from the oven and the second slice chilled as I steal a few bites the next morning for breakfast.

One Year Ago: Blueberry Plum Pie & Fig Oatmeal Bars
Two Years Ago: Olive Oil Pound Cake, Iced Matcha Coconut Latte, & Blueberry Honey Scones
Three Years Ago: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies & Citrus Zucchini Muffins
Four Years Ago:  Nutella Espresso Rolls, Brownie Cookies, Cookie Dough Cake, & Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars
Five Years Ago: Almond Butter Cupcakes, Berry Pavlova, Mango Striped Popsicles, French Silk Pie, Blackberry Coffee Cake, & Blueberry Cupcakes
Six Years Ago: Cherry Almond Muffins, Plum Clafouti, Banana Cake, S'mores Pie, & Malted Chocolate Cupcakes
Seven Years Ago: Chocolate Prune Cake, Wild Blueberry Muffins, Chocolate Pear Cake, & Strawberry Shortcake

Plum Almond Tart

Yields 9-inch tart (8 to 12 servings)

Tart Dough
1 1/4 cups (150 grams) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (113 grams) butter, cold
1 large egg, lightly whisked
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons (50 grams) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups (160 grams) almond flour
3/4 pound (340 grams) ripe plums, cored and sliced

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cube the butter and add it to the dry ingredients by rubbing it between your fingers until the dough resembles coarse sand. Add the lightly whisked egg and vanilla extract, folding the mixture until the dough comes together with a uniform appearance.

Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, or until cold.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a 9-inch tart pan with parchment.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer into the tart pan and trim the edges. To blind bake, line the inside of the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans to help the dough keep its shape while baking (alternatively, you can also poke the bottom of the pan with a fork several dozen times). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove weights and parchment, if necessary. Keep the oven temperature at 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Stir in the almond flour until uniform. Spread the filling evenly into the tart shell with an offset spatula.

Place the plum slices upright in the filling and press down gently. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the almond filling is baked through and appears lightly browned. Cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Chocolate Gingersnap Tart

Snow fell from the sky in thick, heavy flakes as the sun slowly dipped below the horizon. I watched the world turn white from my couch, sipping a glass of wine while sifting through the mess of a craft project spread over the coffee table. I was ready for the change, ready to embrace the shift towards slow living that comes with the winter season. The cold weather feels like permission to stay indoors, wrapped in blankets and chunky sweaters, granting time to catch up on the quiet lifestyle that was put on the shelf when the snow melted in the spring. 

Winter is the season of recovery—an interval between life cycles—a pause for reflection and connection.

The light changes in winter, reflecting and refracting off the snow and ice, infusing the world with cool tones and sharp lines. Winter flavors echo the qualities of the diffuse light, a continued expression of the season. While autumn flavors are an indulgence in comfort and warmth, winter flavors bring a sharpness, an edge that cuts through the complacency, a reminder that the season has changed.

This Chocolate Gingerbread Tart feels like the bridge between the seasons, a transitional dessert. The smooth chocolate filling is sweetened and spiced with cinnamon, but the sharp bite of ginger cuts through it, bringing contrast to the dessert.

Bake this dessert and share it with your loved ones over the holiday season, finding connection in each other's company.


This Chocolate Gingersnap Tart is a decadent holiday dessert that is perfect for sharing. A gingersnap crust is filled with a rich chocolate filling and baked until the chocolate sets into a thick custard. The filling is silky and smooth, standing in stark contrast to the crisp, spiced crust. Use whichever type of chocolate you prefer—milk, semisweet, or dark—but take care to use a high quality brand. The tart itself is simple and quick to prepare; a small slice will go a long way.

One Year Ago: Pear Spiced Sangria
Two Years Ago: Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
Three Years Ago: Stovetop Popcorn & Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Pear Caramel Glaze
Four Years Ago: Chai Pear Scones, Hot Bourbon Apple Cider, Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars, & Maple Roasted Chickpeas
Five Years Ago: Cranberry Orange Brioche Rolls, Cranberry Sauce, & Cranberry White Chocolate Tarts
Six Years Ago: "Please, Sir, Can I Have S'more?" Cupcakes & Chocolate Espresso Pots de Creme

Chocolate Gingersnap Tart
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

Yields 10-12 servings

Gingersnap Crust 
8 ounces (about 32 cookies or 230 grams) gingersnap cookies, processed into crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (57 grams) butter, melted

Chocolate Filling
3/4 cup (180 mL) heavy cream
3/4 cup (180 mL) whole milk
10 ounces (280 grams) semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, whisked

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the gingersnap crumbs, cinnamon, and melted butter until evenly coated. Press mixture into a 9-inch tart pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and keep oven on.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream and milk. Warm over medium-low heat. Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted and is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add whisked eggs and stir until smooth.

Pour chocolate filling into baked gingersnap crust. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes, or until chocolate filling is set and does not move when the pan is lightly shaken. Cool to room temperature before cutting and serving. Lightly dust with cocoa powder, if desired.

Brûléed Lemon Tart

The cold weather that winter brings provides the perfect reason to turn on the oven. Warming the home with the scent of butter and sugar lifts spirits, countering the doldrums that can follow when we hibernate indoors. In winter, I turn to pastries with bright and bold flavors to counter the rich comfort food. With citrus fruit in peak season during the winter months, lemons are next pick on my menu.

In partnership with King Arthur Flour, each month I want to challenge you with a new recipe, filled with step-by-step explanations and techniques, to help you grow and develop as a baker. This month we're taking on a brûléed lemon tart.  Lemon tarts, or tarte au citron, are a classic French dessert, combining a tart lemon filling with a buttery crust. This version of a lemon tart blends the French classic with a burnt sugar top to add a new textural dimension.  

The tart dough combines a mixture of pastry and almond flour. Pastry flour naturally creates tender baked goods. Pastry flour has less protein than all-purpose flour, which means that less gluten forms in the dough. Almond flour is also added to the dough; the subtle nutty flavor complements the bright citrus fruit, and adds to the crust’s delightful texture. To counteract the lower amount of gluten in the flours, an egg is added as a binder. With powdered sugar for sweetness and butter for tenderness, the tart dough comes together in a similar fashion to cookie dough.

By using these nontraditional flours, the baked crust takes on a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth quality that matches the silkiness of the lemon filling.

The tart dough will have a texture similar to cookie dough when prepared. Because the dough is too soft to roll out into a sheet, it is directly pressed into the tart pan with the heel of your hand. I find it easiest to tear the dough into pieces and spread them out evenly on the bottom of the pan. This technique makes it relatively simple to press the dough into a uniform thickness. I also reserve a small amount of dough to fill in thin spots after pressing, especially along the sides of the pan where it tends to be an irregular thickness.

The dough is then poked with a fork along the bottom of the pan to release air when it is baked. This prevents the dough from rising, helping keep its original shape.

Before baking, the tart dough is chilled in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. By chilling the dough, it allows the gluten in the dough to relax, which minimizes shrinking during the baking process. Chilling also hardens the butter, will contribute to the crust's flaky texture when baking. Overall, chilling the dough is a win-win situation when it comes to pastry.

The lemon filling is made in a similar fashion to lemon curd. To start, lemon zest is rubbed into granulated sugar with your fingers, releasing the oils in the peel to create additional flavor. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is mixed in with a few eggs, which are used to thicken the filling. The picture on the left shows the filling before heating.

While heating, the filling should be whisked constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. After 8-10 minutes, the eggs will have thickened the mixture enough so that the whisk will leave tracks in the filling. This is when you will know it is done. I prefer to run the filling through a fine mesh strainer to remove the zest and remaining solids to give the filling a silky smooth finish. This is shown in the picture on the right.

Butter is added one cube at a time to the filling to lend a rich creaminess. Each cube of butter should be fully melted and incorporated into the filling before adding another. This slow process of adding the fat in the butter to the water in the filling creates an emulsion, making the filling stable.

The tart crust is baked separately before adding the filling. This prevents a soggy tart crust and produces a crust that is tender and buttery instead. Then the filling is added and finishes baking until set. The tart is left to cool to room temperature for several hours to set up the filling. For the perfect slices with clean edges, I suggest covering the tart after it has cooled and allowing it to sit overnight at room temperature.

Just before serving, sprinkle the top with a generous amount of granulated sugar and use a torch to melt it into a crisp topping. While a kitchen torch will do, I like to bring out the full-sized blowtorch for this job (I was gifted one for Christmas several years ago, and love finding excuses to use it). To prevent the sugar from burning, start by holding the torch a good distance away from the tart, slowing moving closer, until you find the right height to caramelize, but not burn the sugar. Also keep the torch away from the edge of the tart crust; it will burn if you are not careful.

If serving a few pieces instead of the entire tart, just sugar and torch those individual slices. The sugar topping will not stay crisp once stored.

Brûléed Lemon Tart is a bright, citrus dessert to add color and flavor to these cold winter days. A tender crust holds in a creamy lemon filling, which balances the tart lemon with the sweetness of sugar. The tart is burnt using a torch to add a crisp, textured topping. Serve the whole tart at once for family and friends, or individual slices one at a time for you and the ones you love.

One Year Ago: Pear Vanilla Sorbet
Two Years Ago: Pear Chocolate Scones
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookies and Vanilla Bean Marshmallows
Four Years Ago: Dark Chocolate Oatmeal
Five Years Ago: Zuppa Toscano and Quick Chocolate Cake

Bruleed Lemon Tart

Yield 8-12 servings

Tart Dough
8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (225 grams)
King Arthur Pastry Flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) King Arthur Almond Flour

Lemon Filling
Zest of 3 lemons
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup (120 mL) fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, cubed

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until light. Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and continue mixing until uniform, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the flours, mixing until the dough comes together and begins to gather in the bowl.

Press dough into an 10-inch ungreased tart pan evenly on the bottom and sides. Poke a fork into the bottom to release air while baking. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

To make the lemon filling, combine the lemon zest and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Mix together with your fingers until fragrant. Whisk in the lemon juice and eggs.

Cook the mixture over medium to medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens (you should be able to make tracks in the mixture with your whisk). This will take about 8-10 minutes. Use a fine mesh strainer to remove the zest. Add the butter, one cube at a time, whisking until it is fully incorporated before adding another. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Bake chilled tart dough for 15-20 minutes, or until dry in appearance and touch. Add lemon filling and continue baking for 25-30 minutes, or until filling has set. Cool to room temperature.

Just before serving, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over the tart.* Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crisp top. Serve immediately.

*If serving a few pieces instead of the entire tart, only sprinkle and torch the pieces going to be served. The sugar topping will not stay crisp once stored.

This post is sponsored through a partnership with King Arthur Flour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.