Mom likes plums
Is there any fruit more elegant than the plum? Eaten out of hand, a
firm, ripe plum provides an exquisite contrast between the sweet,
juicy flesh and the tart, tangy skin. But at this time of year, when
one can find Italian prune
in abundance, it is a sin not
to cook with them as often as possible. Plums lend a beautiful color
and a certain sophistication to chutneys, jams, fruit butters,
pierogie fillings, cakes, tarts, and coffee cakes.
If you drink alcohol you can find plum wine and the intense plum
liqueur, slivovits. The marketing
genius who renamed prunes
“dried plums” as a way of enhancing their appeal was truly inspired.
If he had been around in the 50s I’m sure my sister, brother, and I
wouldn’t have cried at the breakfast table on those grim mornings that
our mother forced us to eat stewed prunes instead of orange juice
( Us: “But Mommy, we’re thirsty!” Mom: “The prunes are your juice; eat
up!”), because let’s face it, “dried plums” sounds much more
appetizing than “prunes”!
When Jon and Leland were toddlers we lived on a street that had a
small plum tree whose owners held it in such disregard that the fruit
just fell on the ground and rotted. I felt like
mother with her rampion craving as I looked at that tree from across
the street, salivating. I don’t know why I never plucked up my courage
enough to knock on their door and ask for permission to gather the
plums, since they weren’t using them, but I restricted myself to
grabbing a few while out with the boys in their stroller.
Last week our local Whole Foods had a
heap of Italian plums,
from a local farm, at a great price. I bought several pounds of them
and made Maman’s Apple
Tart. I tinkered
with the crust
proportions a bit because I wanted to make a 10-inch tart, and used
about 3 pounds of firm plums, the biggest ones I could find. Look how
beautiful it is!