I am in the midst of my marathon training again. The Dublin City Marathon will take place on October 31st and I plan on toeing the line with everyone else. This is the time of year that weekends are planned around the LSR, or Long Slow Run (I prefer Long Sunday Run). If you do your long run on a Sunday morning, as I tend to, your Saturday is spent drinking lots of water throughout the day to make sure that you are well hydrated, and eating to make sure that you have enough fuel in your tank, so to speak, to get you through the long miles early on Sunday morning. Early nights and early mornings are also part of the deal. My social life is suffering terribly!
This time of the year is also when the harvest fruits are coming into their own. This recipe uses lovely Italian Plums, the last of the amazing batch I received a while back. However, it would be perfect with sliced apples, or I have even used pears and you could also use some of the plump blackberries that I spotted on my run this morning that are starting to ripen.
I made this tart last week when we had a friend staying, but I have to admit that I used it on Sunday Afternoon, to help refuel and restock some of the 1500+ calories I had burnt off after running 13 miles that morning. Refueling with this tart is definitely one of my favourite parts of marathon training!
You will need to make the sweet shortcrust pastry first and this can be made and blind baked the day before if you wish. I can’t remember where I got this sweet pastry recipe but it is my go to pastry for any dessert tarts that I am making.
You will need;
200g plain flour, 100g butter -chilled and cubed, 1 large egg – lightly beaten, and 1 tbsp icing sugar. For a frangipane crust, I also add a couple of drops of almond essence but don’t add for other recipes or it could change the taste quite a bit.
Place the flour, butter, icing sugar and almond essence in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add half the beaten egg and pulse again. You want the mixture to come together. Add more egg if needed but only add a little at a time as you do not want it to be too wet. Tip out onto a clean worktop and bring together in to a disc. Do not knead. Shape into a large disc about 2cm in height and wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for up to 30 mins.
If you want, you can do this stage by hand. Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar until crumbly. Add the almond essence and a litte of the egg and bring together with a fork. Add as much egg as you require and tip out onto the work surface, following the steps as above.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out until it is larger than the tin you are using. I used a 23cm fluted tart tin with a removable base. I also roll the pastry out between 2 layers of cling film to stop it from sticking.
Line your tin carefully, gently pressing the pastry into the corners of the tin, and using your fingers, fold the pastry around the top of the tin, leaving about 1cm of a lip.
Line with tinfoil, and bake blind at 180C for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and remove the tinfoil and baking beans. Allow to cool and store in an airtight tin overnight, or set to one side while you prepare the filling.
For the filling you will need;
100g butter -softened, 100g caster sugar, 100g ground almonds, a couple drops almond essence, 2 eggs, 50g plain flour, 5-600g of pitted and halved Italian Plums.
Beat the butter, sugar, ground almonds and almond essence until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat again until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixer and beat again until very smooth.
Pour into the prepared case and smooth out with a spatula. Now place the halved plums into the frangipane mix as you desire.Try to fill all space and while you may think you don’t have room, make room as the plums will lose some size when cooking.
Finally, if you so wish, sprinkle some flaked almonds over the top of the tart and place in the centre of the oven.
Bake at 190C, for 40 minutes. You will need to keep checking from about 25-30 minutes on. You want the top of the tart to be golden brown and firming to the touch, but still with a little give.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before trying to remove from the tart tin.
Place on a pretty cake stand, and replenish those calories with a little fresh cream and a nice strong coffee. This tart is delicious warm or cold. You could also bake this tart in advance and simply reheat in a warm oven for 20 minutes before serving if you had an occasion. Do not, however, reheat in a microwave – you will end up with nasty too hot pastry which will end up soggy and then rock hard taking all the good out of the work you have done.
And on that note, I am off to eat my way through the fridge. I had another long run this morning & I am starving. Its called a marathon effort for a reason you know!
What is your favourite autumn fruit, and what do you like to do with it? What are your tips for fueling pre run, and post run?