Tasting Paris features new and classic French recipes and cooking techniques that will demistify the art of French cooking and transport your dinner guests to Paris. Whether you have experienced the charm of Paris many times or dream of planning your first trip, here you will find the food that makes this city so beloved. Featuring classic recipes like Roast Chicken with Herbed Butter and Croutons, and Profiteroles, as well as newer dishes that reflect the way Parisians eat today, such as Ratatouille Pita Sandwich with Chopped Eggs and Tahini Sauce and Spiralized Zucchini Salad with Peach and Green Almonds. With 100 recipes, 125 evocative photographs, and native Parisian Clotilde Dusoulier’s expertise, Tasting Paris transports you to picnicking along the Seine, shopping the robust open-air markets, and finding the best street food—bringing the flavors and allure of this favorite culinary destination to your very own kitchen.
Tarte aux prunes caramélisée (Caramelized Plum Tart)
You may know rue Lepic from the movie Ame ́lie. It is hard to imagine a more charming market street, complete with a cheesemonger, a butcher shop, a fish stall, a spice vendor, a charcuterie, a rôtisserie, and more specialty shops than you can shake a baguette at. I showcase it on my tasting tours of Montmartre, and always pause at Les Petits Mitrons (“the baker’s apprentices”). The pink-and-blue pastry shop has stopped passersby in their tracks since 1982 with its display of fruit tarts arranged on round cooling racks, seemingly straight out of a French grandmother’s oven: perfectly imperfect, with jagged edges and simple patterns of seasonal fruits you would swear were picked from a garden in the back. Even more irresistible than the fruits is the sugar-studded, heavily caramelized, crunchy rim. The secret to this crust is a closely guarded one, but I created a copycat recipe.
I like to make this tart in late summer to show off the rainbow range of French plums: purple quetsches, green reine-claudes, yellow mirabelles. That said, it can be made with any combination of seasonal fruits: berries, ﬁgs, cherries, stone fruits, apples, pears.
Notes: I recommend a metal tart pan with a removable bottom: Metal conducts heat best, and you can expose the sides of the tart in the final baking phase for optimal, Petits Mitrons–like caramelization. If you don’t have one, the next best thing is a metal tart pan without a removable bottom.
I like to use a mix of two or three varieties of plums if available. You can use frozen plums straight from the freezer, without thawing.
Grease a 10-inch (25 cm) metal tart pan with a removable bottom (see Notes) with the butter, and sprinkle the bottom and sides evenly with the sugar. Roll out the pâte brisée and line the pan with it, trimming the excess with a roll of the pin. Let rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). (If your oven has a mode where the heat comes primarily from the bottom heating element, use this; it will foster a deeper caramelization of the crust.)
Halve and pit the plums. If your plums are very small (1 inch/2.5 cm), just leave them as halves; otherwise cut them into quarters or sixths. Arrange the plums skin side down on the dough in a circular pattern, starting from the outside, overlapping slightly; the plums will shrink slightly as they bake. Alternate plum colors if using a mix. Bake for 20 minutes.
While the tart is baking, in a small saucepan, heat the apricot jam over low heat. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl to remove pieces of skin.
Remove the tart from the oven (but leave the oven on). Remove the sides of the tart pan. Using a pastry brush and the strained apricot jam, glaze the sides of the tart, outside and in, and the top of the fruit. Return to the oven until darkly caramelized, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
2 teaspoons (10 g) unsalted butter
¼ cup (50 g) sugar
1¾ pounds (800 g) just-ripe, small plums
¼ cup (60 ml) apricot jam
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