I've been waiting for the plums to show up because I had this idea noodling around in my head about doing some sort of spiced plum dessert. I made a plum and port sorbet that turned out very yummy. I was going to spice that up when it came time to make a new dessert so I took those flavors and wrapped them in pastry. Instead of port, however, I use Marsala for it's depth and so I could have a vehicle for my Marsala cinnamon ice cream.
I was looking through Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery and saw that she has a recipe for a stone fruit pastry. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I adapted that for my needs. I especially like how she caramelizes the sugar, which just builds on the flavor further. I tweaked her method a bit, because it just wasn't working for me.
Use your favorite pie dough recipe for this. My portion of dough was 2-1/2 ounces, rolled and trimmed to 6-inch circles.
Spiced Plum Galette
makes six galettes
4 large plums (about 1-1/2 lbs sliced)
2 tbsp Marsala
1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground clove
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Cut the plums in half and cut out the pits. Cut each half into eight wedges and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the Marsala, the scrapings of the vanilla bean (not the pod, just the seeds), allspie and clove. In another small bowl, mix cornstarch with the first water. Set these aside.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water, mixing only to moisten the sugar. Wash any sugar from the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Turn the heat to high and cook the sugar until it is a light caramel. You can gently swirl the pan to make sure the sugar cooks evenly, but do not stir it. Once the sugar is a light caramel, turn the heat off and let the bubbles subside. Stand back and with a long wooden spoon stir in the Marsala and spice mixture. The caramel will bubble and spatter so be careful. Stir to dissolve the caramel and add the sliced plums. Turn the heat back on and cook, stirring often until the plums have softened slightly and given off juice.
Place a strainer over a bowl and pour the cooked plums into it and gently toss to remove as much liquid as possible. Set the plums aside to cool completely or chill. Put the juice back in the pot and return to the heat. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook, stirring constantly, until the juice is thickened and shiny. Pour the thicken juice into a bowl and set aside to cool completely.
To assemble the galettes, egg wash your pastry circles. Divide the plums between the pastry (you may not need all of them), placing them in a mound in the center of each round. Pleat the sides to form a square. Egg was the top of the crust and sprinkle with crystal, turbinado, vanilla or cinnamon sugar. If the pastry has gotten too soft, put them in the fridge until it has firmed up.
When ready to bake, spoon a tablespoon or so of the thickened juice over the plums. Bake at 400º until bubbling and the pastry is golden. Serve warm with a lovely ice cream. They will keep in the fridge for four days; after that the crust will get soggy.