My Tribute to Sheila Lukins
Along with many of you, I "grew up in the kitchen" with Sheila Lukins and the Silver Palate Cookbooks, The New Basics Cookbook, All Around the World Cookbook and the USA Cookbook! Yes, I have them all plus many pages torn from the Parade Magazine on Sundays. I was so sorry to receive the email from the Kitchen Gnome telling me of her passing.
I knew right away that I wanted to cook something from one of her many cookbooks as a tribute. Chicken Marbella, Ratatouille, Split Pea and Ham Soup, Olde English Trifle, are among my favs as were many other dishes through the years. Cooking changed during those times. I moved from my "mom's" hardy basic meals to more creative recipes...risk-taking recipes in my book! Who served chicken and fruit on the same platter?
Today I made a Plum Tart with Ginger Crust from Sheila's USA Cookbook. I had oodles of plums in the produce box and I was determined to do something different, something I had never made before. The recipe called for red plums but I didn't have those. I had October Sun plums. I wasn't certain about using a different variety but they tasted great so, why not?
Plum Tart with Ginger Crust
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely ground gingersnap cookies (about 1 ounce)
1/8 tsp salt
11/2 pounds red plumd, pitted and quartered
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup red currant jelly or apricot jam, melted
Prepare the curst: Place the butter in a good processor and process a few seconds until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and process until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 20 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice.
Combine the flour, ground gingersnaps, ginger, and salt in a small bowl and add them to the food processor. Process until the dough comes together around the sides of the bowl, then scrape the sides of the bowl and precess for a few extra seconds.
With lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a loose-bottom 9-inch tart pan,pressing particularly around the bottom edge of the pan with your fingers, making sure that the dough is not too thick.
Trim off any excess dough at the top of the tart pan with a knife, then lightly press the dough around the inside of the rim with your thumb so it extends about 1/8 inch above the pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then chill the prepared pan, covered with plastic wrap, in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare the filling: Place the quartered plums in a bowl with the sugar, ginger, and cinnamon. Toss well and set aside.
Bake the chilled or frozen tart shell until golden brown, 25 minutes. Cool completely, in the pan, on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Brush half the jelly all over the inside of the cooled tart shell. Arrange the plums decoratively in the tart shell, skin side up, starting wt the outside rim and working toward the center. The plums should overlap slightly. Brush them all over with the remaining jelly.
Place the tart on a baking sheet. Cover the rim of the tart shell with aluminum foil to prevent the crust from over-browning, then bake the tart until the plums aretender, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack to room temperature or until slightly warm, then remove the sides of the pan, place the tart on a serving plate, and serve.