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Switzen Plum Tart

Switzen plums usually appear in mid-autumn. They have deep purple skins and firm green flesh, and their slightly tart taste blends exceptionally well with the sweet-and-sour pastry. No other plum will really replace them, but if you cannot obtain them, be sure to choose a variety that has a good strong flavour.

ingredients

serves 6
125 g (5 oz) plain flour, sifted
85 g (3 1/2 oz) butter, cut in pieces
15 g (1 tbsp) caster sugar
1 egg yolk
pinch salt
approx 15 ml (1 tbsp) sour cream
10 g (1 tbsp) toasted breadcrumbs
10 g (2 tsp) ground cinnamon
450 g (1 lb) Switzen plums, stoned
25 g (1 oz) caster sugar

topping

1 egg yolk
40 g (1 1/2 oz) caster sugar
75 ml (3 fl oz) sour cream
2 egg whites
25 g (1 oz) plain flour

method

1. Combine the flour with the butter pieces and rub to a fine crumb texture.

2. Toss in the sugar. Mix in the egg yolk, salt and enough sour cream to blend it all to a firm smooth paste.

3. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic film and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

4. Roll out the pastry and line the base of a 24 cm (9 1/2 in) spring-form tin. Prick all over with a fork. Scatter the mixture of breadcrumbs and cinnamon over the pastry and cover with a close layer of plums. Dredge with sugar.

5. To prepare the topping, beat the egg yolk and half the sugar until creamy and pale, and mix in the sour cream. Whisk the egg whites until firm, then beat in the rest of the sugar until the mixture is satiny and smooth. Fold the egg snow and spoonfuls of sifted flour alternately into the main mixture. Spoon over the top of the plums and level out. Bake until well risen and golden.

6. Dredge with icing sugar to serve and eat either warm or cold.

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