Plum Tarte Tatin

Tart-sweet local plums, dripping in caramel syrup, adorn this rustic tart.  A simple twist on a French classic.  With a basket of fresh plums and a package of frozen puff pastry, you’re on your way to an elegant finale to a summer solstice celebration.

Serves 6


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (optional)
  • 1 pound plums (about 6 medium), pits removed, fruit sliced
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Add the sugar, butter, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla bean and 2 tablespoons water to the pan.  Let the sugar dissolve as the butter melts, stirring to combine.  Cook the mixture until it turns brown, smooth and fragrant, like caramel.  This will take a few minutes.  Watch carefully, as caramel burns easily—turn the heat down as necessary to prevent burning.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the plums to the pan, arranging in neat a circle or in a loose layer, depending on your aesthetic.  Roll the pastry dough out on a floured surface, and cut into a circle a bit larger than the circumference of the pan (use a dinner plate as a guide).  Place the pastry into the pan, on top of the fruit mixture.  Tuck the edges down inside the pan.
  3. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden with caramel bubbling up around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven. Allow to cool slightly, then turn out onto a plate for serving.  It is very important to be careful in this process because the caramel topping can be dangerous if it spills out as you flip the pan over.  Arm yourself well by wearing oven mitts that completely cover your hands and wrists.  Place a large plate over the pan—one that covers the entire pan and more.  For extra protection, you might cover the plate with a dishtowel to catch any leakage.  Then quickly turn the pan over onto the plate and release the tarte with a knife, if necessary.
  4. Serve warm.  Add some vanilla ice cream on top if you like.


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