It's officially autumn now and, while the temperatures are still warm, little signs of change are becoming perceptible. It's dark now when I wake up to head to yoga. The mornings are cooler, the breeze crisper. All little, wonderful whispers of the season to come. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of summer - the cooler months are definitely my jam. I'm so looking forward to breaking out the knits and blankets, lighting candles in the afternoon and snuggling up with a cup of tea. But it's not quite winter yet, so I decided to farewell summer with the last stone fruits: plums.
After the peaches and apricots and nectarines have faded, the plums linger well into the first month of autumn. They are the quintessential transition fruit. They bake up perfectly into cakes (the German cake, Pflaumenkuchen, a yeasted dough baked with plums on top until they're jammy and soft, is one of my favourite cakes), but I thought I'd go for a light, summery raw vibe. A creamy, soft filling, flavoured with plums and vanilla (and perfectly pink!), is topped with slices of ripe, sweet plums. It's slight girlish, like a giggle. But, it's not sickly sweet or over the top, with a balance between the fresh plums, sweet dates and creamy cashews. (Even Adam, who is rarely a fan of raw desserts, thoroughly enjoyed these little tartlets.) If you're in the northern hemisphere, with no plums at hand, I'd suggest blueberries, raspberries, or even blackberries as a good substitute (frozen would be fine). So long summer, you've been grand.
raw plum tartlets.
makes 4 12 cm tartlets
- it is only worthwhile making these with soft, sweet plums. if decent plums aren't available, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries would make a delicious substitution. as would figs, or mango.
- don't be tempted to over-sweeten the filling as you are making it - the bases are very sweet.
- these can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container (still in their tins) in the freezer until required. remove from the freezer and top with fresh fruit when ready to eat.
for the base:
6-8 medjool dates, pitted
a pinch of sea salt
for the filling:
juice of 1 lemon
seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
4 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp cold water
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 plum, stoned and flesh diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped
In a food processor, blend almonds with a pinch of salt until they form a fine meal. Add dates and blend to combine - the 'dough' should hold together when pressed between your finger and thumb.
Divide the base mixture evenly between four 12 cm fluted tartlet tins (the kind with a removable base). Using moist fingers, press the base firmly and evenly around the tins. Place tartlets in the freezer until required, or at least 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender, combine all the ingredients for the filling. Blend on high until silky smooth. This could take a few minutes (depending on your blender), and will required the sides of the blender to be scraped down with a spatula a few times. Equally divide the filling between the tartlets, gently tap pin the sides of the tine to settle the mixture. Return tartlets to the freezer for 2-3 hours, until solid. To serve, remove tartlets from freezer 15 minutes prior to serving, and let them sit at room temperature. Arrange plum slices on top, and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.