Recipe from In The Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley
Notes: To make a dessert like this requires some advance planning. There's a pate brisee (pie crust) dough to make, chill, roll and pre-bake. The pastry cream needs to be cooked and chilled. And there's also three dozen little plums to core, halve, roast and cool.
I started with the pastry cream, infusing the milk with a double portion of vanilla beans. It's impossible (and dangerous) to scrape out seeds from a dried bean, but after boiling it for a while, it softens up enough for you to split it open. The finished cream went into the fridge. I also made the crust dough and chilled that too. The next day, I rolled out the crust, and blind baked it. This dough tends to puff up quite a bit, so make sure you weigh the inside with a good quantity of pie weights. I keep a jar of dried legumes solely for this purpose.
The little blue Italian prune plums are pretty small and shrink when you roast them. So I ended up pitting and roasting about three dozen of them to fill a 10" tart tin. The slightly caramelized pan juices made an incredible accompaniment to cheese and crackers. Don't discard it!
Assembly was a snap: spreading the pastry cream into the baked shell, then arranging the plum halves on top. Unfortunately, this tart was just so-so. I think a plum tart needs to have a more substantial base than pastry cream, more like a frangipane.