October 26, 2005

Prune Tarts Two Ways

I can safely say that if it wasn't for David, I never, EVER would have made a prune tart.

Typically prunes are not my thing. I don't know of any places to get really good prunes and besides that, aren't prunes and pruney drinks for old people?

As I found out, not so.

I put my snobby little prejudices aside for David Lebovitz's Prune Blogging Thursday, in which I made two great little tarts: an Apricot and Prune Tart and a Dark Chocolate Pecan and Prune Tart.

And the great thing was, I completely winged it.

Prunes 1

I picked up some prunes at the local co-op. Now, I know these aren't the best (or necessarily even close to being great) but its all they had. I was NOT going to get some Sunkist type brand...besides the old people had totally cramped that aisle.

I started off by simmering said prunes for about 5 - 10 minutes, until plump. Drain the mixture and throw em into the food processor. Add 1/2 cup sugar and a squirt of lemon juice. Pulse until pureed.

I divided the mixture in two and for the first batch added a few chopped up squares of dark chocolate (they were really small sized squares) and roughly chopped pecans.

For the second mixture I added roughly chopped and very tart dried apricots.

Prune Tarts

For the dough:

6 oz cream cheese, softened.
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened.
2 1/2 cups AP flour

This isn't in the recipe but I would highly recommend adding a few tablespoons of sugar to the cream cheese/butter mixture. This dough recipe came from a fennel and onion tart, but in this capacity I think it would taste better with a tiny bit of sweetness.

1.With a handheld mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together until incorporated. Add all the flour at once and mix. Using your hands, roll dough mixture into a ball and refrigerate for 45 minutes. (I skipped that step since I had some time constraints. I had to go to Bingo!)

2.Press dough mixture into your tart pans (I used miniature pans) and bake at 375 f for approx. 10 minutes. Take out of oven and cool.

3.Add prune mixtures and put back in oven for approx. 15-20 minutes.

4.Let cool and add toppings.

So by now you must be wondering how they tasted? Well, pretty darn good.

I do however, have a few recommendations:

1. The previously mentioned addition of a few tablespoons of sugar to the dough.

2. More chocolate in the Pecan Tart. Chocolate changed the taste of the prunes quite a bit, but for the meager amount I put in, it wasn't quite right. I would suggest melting a goodly amount of dark chocolate and adding a layer on top of the tart, then adding pecans and drizzling with more chocolate. It resembles a giant Raisinette.

3. The tarts should be served with fresh, slightly sweetened whipped cream. There is something about the taste of these tarts that requires a smooth, creamy accompaniment.

All in all, not a bad first experience with prunes. My doctor would be proud.