hazelnut-plum-crumb-tart Recipes

hazelnut plum crumb tart

There are few paths that led to this recipe but the main one is that it instantly reminded me of the kind of crumb pies I remember from bakeries growing up, not the kind with a crumble topping but ones with a crust also composed of pressed crumbs. And guys, I love a buttery, flaky, ethereal pie crust woven over cherries and bronzed in the oven as much as the next person, but the idea of choosing it over a crumbly composite of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and sometimes nuts is pure madness. But the filling gave me pause — a custard? a custard that suspends fruit? How odd, right? Or delicious? I went back and forth over the odd-versus-delicious line for the better part of a decade before deciding to finally make it this week. A decade. This recipe was actually published in a 1999 Martha Stewart Living. I was living in Washington D.C., dating a terrible idea and trying to figure out how I could find a place in New York that didn’t charge more than $600/month rent. This recipe is ancient history, people.

toasted hazelnuts
cinnamon hazelnut brown sugar crumbs
how i like to do crumb crusts

So why this week? Like most things in my life right now, it relates to a still (yes, still) unfinished but imminently due manuscript, and my inability to think about much else, which has turned into a perfect time to outsource a bit, by dusting off recipes I’ve had on my To Cook list for eons — especially those that involve plums. I’m seeing plums everywhere these days, and I love them, but they’re always a little bittersweet to me, as they’re one of the last fruits to appear before apples, and everyone knows that while you munch through buckets of apples, late summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter and suddenly, they’re the last fresh fruit you see until rhubarb — which isn’t even a real fruit, but one that likes to pretend it is — appears in the late spring. Hm, aren’t I just a bundle of cheer today?

italian plums

quartered and eighthed plums
plums in

Instead, I’ll finish with a funnier story. I’ve worked my way through my book section by section; there was a lot of salad last fall, a lot of breakfast in January and a wonderful month this spring where we had a real home-cooked meal for dinner almost every night. Unfortunately, we’re now in the dessert section, which has been heralded with the purchase of a terrifying amount of butter a reignited intimacy with the gym abject terror: What on earth am I going to do with 25 desserts? As if a magic wand had been waved, earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet my husband’s coworkers; they bought me beers and in exchange I apparently agreed to send all of my desserts directly to them forever more. Word is, this one didn’t last an hour which means I think my work here is done.

ready to bake
cooling

One year ago: Eggplant Salad Toasts
Two years ago: Grilled Eggplant and Olive Pizza and Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
Three years ago: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Kefta and Zucchini Kebabs
Four years ago: Plum Almond Tarts
Five years ago: Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

Hazelnut Plum Crumb Tart
Barely adapted from Martha Stewart

So how does it taste? Fantastic, but considering that it involves butter, hazelnuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar and plums, you probably don’t need to tell me that. The aroma from your kitchen will beckon strangers to your door; it weakens steel dessert wills. I mentioned that the custard filling gave me pause but we ended up liking it a lot, it was less of a jiggly baked custard and more like something that bound the plums nicely together. However, if we are being completely honest, I would love love love love love to exchange the custard mixture for a cream cheese custard (i.e. cheesecake) mixture next time. I believe it would be deadly delicious. I have not (repeat: have not) tested this, but my hunch is that you could replace the 1/3 cup heavy cream with a 3 ounce package of softened cream cheese, beaten with the eggs, sugar, flour and milk. I’d love to hear if any of you pull this off.

I nixed the raspberries in the original recipe and replaced them with extra plum. I love raspberries but I don’t think they were necessary here (and vaguely remember the late 1990s as being a time when everything from roast chicken to chocolate sauces had raspberry in it, aye, thus, maybe the inclusion was more a product of that time). My only other heads-up about the recipe is that, given that it is a crumb base, it does start to get soggy on the second day. Not terribly so, nobody is going to push it away, dejected, because of the added moisture, but this tart is definitely the most sturdy in the first 24 to 48 hours.

Crust and crumbs
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), chilled, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
1/3 cup (1 3/4 ounces of 49 grams) hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Filling
1 pound ripe but firm plums (about 4 standard black ones or 12 smaller Italian plums; I used a mix of both)
1 tablespoon (8 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Grated nutmeg, optional

Preheat you oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan; set aside. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Bake until fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes, then let cool enough to remove the skins.* Place nuts in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until medium fine, about 30 pulses.

Transfer nuts to the bowl of an electric mixer and add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix until just combined. Add butter, and mix on low speed until crumbs begin to stick together, about 2 to 3 minutes. Press 3 cups of crumb into the bottom of the prepared pan and about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan to form crust; I like to use the bottom and side of a heavy measuring cup to help press the crumbs neatly down and up the side, forming a nice inner corner. Set remaining crumb mixture (about 1 1/2 cups) aside. Transfer crust to the oven; bake until it appears to be set, 15 to 20 minutes; go easy on this baking time as I found it was easy to overbake the outer corners of the tart base in the final baking. It’s going to slump a wee bit in the oven; feel free to press the sides back up the sides with the back of a metal spoon when it comes out of the oven to get them back in place. Set aside to cool (the fridge will expedite this for you).

Slice plums in half, and remove pits. Slice larger plums into eighths and smaller ones into quarters and arrange in cooled crust. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon flour and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk in egg, egg yolk, heavy cream, milk, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few gratings of fresh nutmeg. Pour custard over fruit; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Transfer tart to the oven; bake until custard has set and is slightly golden, 45 to 50 minutes. Let rest at least 25 minutes before cutting if serving warm. You can serve this warm or at room temperature but we much preferred it fully chilled.

* On toasting and skinning hazelnuts: I find that the trick to getting the skins off it to toast them quite well; keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, but let them get some color. That extra color will translate to deeper flavor and looser skins; everyone wins. Some people like to rub the nuts in a dishtowel to loosen the skins but I hate the mess this makes all over my kitchen when I inevitably forget that the towel is a mess of flakes and pick it up. Instead, with dry hands, I roll a few together between my palms until the skins come off and the mess stays on the tray. In general, I almost never get all of the skins off but it doesn’t matter; as long as most of the skins are removed, you won’t have any nagging bitterness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

215 comments on hazelnut plum crumb tart

  1. Delicious and I am pretty this is so goo that you wouldn’t have to worry about it getting soggy the second day…it would all be gone. I also like how you omitted the raspberries and just used more plums.

  2. I have only recently started liking plums after an incident when I was about eight involving green plums and too much Tang! A dear friends plum jam helped me to like plums again, and now I can’t get enough. This looks amazing, plus I just bought a tart pan!

  3. Bunny

    That looks Awesome. So looking forward to your book!
    And crumb-crust rocks.
    [I think you accidentally dropped a line in the middle paragraph- “…perfect time to
    outsource…”]

  4. Ellen

    i ate something so similar to this in italy a few years ago that i still think about: a hazelnut tart with a ricotta and pear filling. it looked a lot like this, i may have to adapt because it ROCKED. all this to say, this looks divine. thanks.

  5. I love the idea of this pie and so must you sticking with it for a decade! I am not ashamed to say I have recipes like this waiting for the urgency to cook it. By the way, I am dedicated to summer ending at the end of September. I am still planning beach trips and canning peaches. I live next to Amish country and last year some of the summer goodies did not end until mid Oct.! A very long season. I guess my glass is half full until something changes that!

  6. I used to love plums as a kid, but for some reason I haven’t had much success as an adult with them. This looks like a great way to ease back into them again. Plus, I pretty much adore anything with hazelnuts, so this is definitely a win.

  7. JulieR

    Sounds like a good way to use up a bunch of plums we have in the fridge.

    Question: I have no hazelnuts, but I do have macadamia nuts. Would they work as well? And if so, should I toast them in the oven first?

    Thanks!

  8. Amy

    Oh my god this looks delicious! I love the idea of a double-crumb pie recipe, with custard in the middle. How awesome and unheard of! I’m not too keen on plums but this dessert looks perfect with them. I’m going to bookmark this–but I doubt I could wait ten years to make it even if I wanted to!

    I think your cream cheese custard idea sounds fantastic and I think that’s how I’ll execute this. Thanks for the idea!

  9. After the paragraph ending with “Hm, aren’t I just a bundle of cheer today?” I actually laughed out loud and said “I love Deb”. People may or may not have looked at me weirdly.

    This looks AMAZING. I promise to try the cheesecake version SOON and report back. Can’t wait.

  10. Ministiltskin

    Wow, Deb! Where the heck do I find hazelnuts? Did you order them online? I don’t see them in the grocery stores here in Oklahoma…

    1. deb

      Ministilkskin — The recipe includes directions to toast and peel them, so you can start with raw. If you can get them peeled and toasted, you can skip that step. I found hazelnuts and Whole Foods and Fresh Direct (which is a grocery delivery service in NYC) but they’re very pricey. However, for 1/3 cup here, totally worth it.

      JulieR — Macadamias should work. All nuts taste better toasted. With hazelnuts, the toasting is a must to remove their skins. Macadamias are usually sold without skins.

      Plum skins — I had never heard/tasted of them being bitter before — very interesting. This dessert is not bitter, but of course, there’s a nice amount of sugar in it.

      Plums themselves — You want to use firm-ripe ones. Soft ones (like those sugar plums I used a couple weeks ago) will leave the dessert too watery.

  11. Carol Surine

    I’ve seen plum tarts a lot, but the problem for me is that plum skins are so bitter and just plain inedible. Does baking make them more tender?

  12. “custard mixture for a cream cheese custard (i.e. cheesecake) mixture next time. I believe it would be deadly delicious.” —

    I bet you’re right but… AS IS…it looks fabulous. How could plums, butter, sugar, cream, NOT be amazing.

    Great pics, too!

  13. prklypr

    (a) just finished baking a blueberry buckle in a round springform that looks like the blue/purple cousin to this, and (b) eggplant salad toasts (‘one year ago’) are an *awesome* staple in my house – and are on the menu for the meal that will conclude with said buckle tonight. Coincidence? I think not…

  14. kim

    Perfect timing, the plums at my grocer’s are so good right now, I had problems buying only those I needed (I often have stewed plums over yoghurt & muesli for breakfast in summer, but even I can’t eat as many as I wanted) – now I can indulge and try this cake :)

  15. I love the colors in this tart. I’m not a huge plum fan when they’re on their own, but combined with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, I bet they are pretty amazing. The cream cheese sounds like a nice idea, but your custard also looks great — I like how it’s not a huge layer but just holding things together quite nicely :)

  16. I agree about the plums being just that little too bitter. I sometimes stew with a little pear to counteract this and add an aniseed-y flavour but not sure this would work here. Too mushy. I also can’t help but see hazelnuts and think chocolate. It’s like some kind of Pavolivan response. Sorry. I’ll be better next time.

  17. tasha

    LOL Deb – I recently tried this recipe from Martha’s website and it is FABULOUS. Even if the raspberries were a trendy inclusion they provide such a happy, fruity, lively flavor. You should try them with sometime too.

  18. Danielle

    Ministilkskin, if you live near Tulsa or Oklahoma City, Akins Health Food stores carry hazelnuts and they are of good quality too.

    Deb, where’s the picture of Jacob? (pout) I adore that kid, even if he makes my ovaries hurt.

  19. beckyk

    crazy! I MADE THIS RECIPE IN 1999! It was in a highly prized copy of MSL that I moved from Scotland to Germany and I was so stoked because I had no cookbooks but needed a birthday cake for my plum-loving husband. I remember it being DELICIOUS and it was very German feeling as they love their hazelnuts and custardy cake/pie hybrids.

  20. Alie

    The first thought I had when you mentioned baked plums in custard was a different Martha Stuart recipe. That one had halved plums in a brandy(? could have been some other liquor)-laced custard, and I brought it for Pi Day(March 14th) during high school, which would have been that same period. I wonder if Martha was having a plum/custard kick…

  21. you are clearly evil. EVIL.

    supposing i’m stuck in an almond rut – would it work to swap them? and, do you think this could be done as individual treats in a cupcake pan?

    or, is that just a bad idea?

  22. Susie

    Oh, Deb, oh, Deb — I’m just back from 4 months in Berlin, where I scarcely cooked but ate a lot of plum this and that, hazelnut this and that, crumb crust this and that, and loved most of it. I don’t even believe in turning my oven on while I have to use the a/c to bear it, but this may change my mind…

  23. I was going to eat my plums for lunch at work this week but now you tell me to make tart? Well I wouldn’t want to upset you so I suppose I’ll have to… :-)

    Can’t wait for the cookbook, keep up the awesome work!

  24. You were right to go with your instincts and leave out the raspberries..I made this recipe once and I remember the raspberries getting very jammy, turning the custard pink and completely overpowering the other, more subtle flavors. You’ve inspired me to give it another go with just plums this time.

  25. Cait

    upon seeing this posted i literally ran out to the store in the middle of a thunderstorm to buy plums. forgot the hazelnuts and went with almonds instead which i had on hand, but it’s fantastic (although i’ll probably have to try with hazelnuts next time)!

  26. BL

    “I was living in Washington D.C., dating a terrible idea and trying to figure out how I could find a place in New York that didn’t charge more than $600/month rent.”

    You know, I was doing the same thing ten years later except I was just looking for a room :( And also squeeing over seeing this blog mentioned in the GW Hatchet ;)

  27. Abby

    When you toast the hazelnuts and try to remove the skins, you can put them in a plastic bag and then rub them together…still an easy way to remove the skins AND you get to avoid the mess!

  28. Susan

    Oh, thank goodness, you finally got to the dessert section! Now that you’ve slimmed me down (a very little) with all this heathy stuff, I”m more than ready for something sweet from you. I’ve been buying plums anticipating plum recipes and ended up making jam with most of them. Not really, but I was hoping.

  29. Kris

    One of the reasons I love this blog is that you make me seem less crazy. I see stone fruits in the store (peaches are big in this Florida household), and suddenly I’m talking to my husband like I’m a parent who’s seen a sign that says “NEXT REST STOP 157 MILES.” “Do you want a peach pie, kids? How about a plum tart? This is your last chance, after this there’s nothing but apples and pumpkin for months, are you sure you don’t have to go? Maybe you should, just in case.”

  30. Eric

    Wow, this looks terrific! I wonder if you brushed the crust with egg white before baking it would solve the soggy-crust-after-two-days problem? It works with regular pie crusts for a while, but perhaps not with a crumb crust. And not to nag, but when do you expect the book to come out? I can’t wait.

  31. If you have some nut allergies around, is there a crust you can substitute in this? I have been in love with plum desserts since the Martha Baking book came out and I tried the plum cobbler. Can’t wait to try this one.

  32. Tracy

    Oh. My. The second I saw the title I knew what this was. I made this! Back in 1999 when that issue came out! I was hosting friends for the evening, and made this for dessert. And I never made it again, even though it was SO good! I may even still have that very issue. Wow. So funny to think of all that again. Maybe it’s time for another go at this recipe for me. Thanks!

  33. Having just convinced myself not to make your strawberry summer cake one more time ( I love it too much for my hips..) over I come and find a recipe for hazelnut and plums – argh. I just bought a big bag of hazelnuts at the market today and the fruit stand is heavy with many types of plums so I think this is definitely on the menu for this week. (And I’m still laughing about the “dating a bad idea….”).

  34. you had me giggling with this post! i’m in serious need of gyming myself! good luck with the rest of your book! I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    p.s- I looooove the second to last photo. That angle is beautiful! And the first photo…to die for.

  35. I make a dessert based on my mom’s recipe from Russia that’s essentially a simplified version of your tart: just flour, sugar, baking soda, and butter for the crumb crust and just fruit/berries, sugar, and cornstarch for the filling. I don’t press the crumbs together very tightly so my dessert ends up being somewhere between a tart, a crumble, and a crisp. I might try pressing the crumbs more next time for a neater, more tart-like presentation. The custardy filling combined with berries – and your musings about replacing the heavy cream with cream cheese – reminds me of another Russian dessert – a tvorog cake, which is essentially the Russian version of cheesecake. Ask your husband about this one – I’m sure he’s had it many times growing up!

  36. I’ve been recipe testing desserts the last couple of weekends (a happy freelance job), and just being in the room with all that sugar – just the smell of it – is enough to make me want to go for a run!

    And yet… I still want to make this tart. I love the fruit/custard combo. Magnificent!

  37. You know, even though it’s a very old recipe I’m sure it will continue to hold up.

    Although by dropping the raspberries (and next time around using the cheesecake custard instead) you’re probably improving it more than you’re giving yourself credit for.

  38. Ada

    Damn, that looks good! I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried clafoutis (there doesn’t seem to be a recipe in your archives here), but that’s effectively fruit in custard, and it’s delicious with plums.

  39. Deb, any idea what volume of ground hazelnuts you ended up with from 1/3 cup? I was gifted with a bag of hazelnut flour (ground hazelnuts) that I’m sure I could put to use here.

    1. deb

      Hi Katie — Just use the weight. It will be the same, of course, for meal.

      Eric — The book won’t be out for another year, fall 2012. You know, if I finish it. :)

  40. Yum! I am so making it, here in Italy it’s plum season in full swing and I have both purple and yellow ones to choose from. I think this would be heavenly with French mirabelles, but unfortunately they can’t be found anywhere here, east of the border ;)
    What other fruit could be used? I still see some strawberries on the stalls and I am very tempted to use them here. Or maybe some mixed berries? I also still have some peaches on hand, and I’m thinking peaches and raspberries… mmmm (maybe with an almond crust? With some crushed amaretti/macaroons mixed in?) .

    to skin hazelnuts, I have had some luck using a pair of those little scratchy gloves/mittens that you normally use in the shower for a light peeling. They work wonderfully for sunchokes and spring carrots, and also new potatoes should you ever need to peel them, but they make a very quick job of skinning toasted nuts – almonds as well.

  41. I want a springform pan now so i can try my own version of this tart, because your pics make this look delicious. But i am still looking forward to the next ingredient you will be obsessed with, as plums and hazelnuts are not easy to find in my part of the world. By the way i made your ‘best cocoa brownies’ and received only praise for it.

  42. Clara

    Om nom! I Must have plums.

    I made a cake very much like that one this weekend (though with no crust, just a ‘standard’ cake w. hazelnuts and plums in it and crumbs on top). That one tasted good, but this one? This one is going to stare at me from the back of my head, whispering seductively, until I’ll finally succumb to it… Actually, I’ve given up fighting it already. Plums, plums, I need plums.

  43. This sounds delicious! My husband loves plums and I’m glad to have a recipe to try out for him. Too bad I just made a pact to not eat sugar for the week. But I’m definitely going to tuck this one away. Thanks for sharing!

  44. Oh my GOODNESS. I was munching on a piece of seed bread spread with an indecent amount of Nutella, and still hankering after hazelnuts when I spotted your mail in my inbox. Could it be fate? Am I meant to make (and devour) this very tart. Surely there is no such thing as a coincidence??????????

  45. Alicia5810

    I’m a new addict of SmittenKitchen, and I’m more and more impressed (and encouraged) every day! I’ve made a couple of your recipes, which were amazing, and your directions are fun and simple! Since I’m new at cooking, I have yet to purchase a springform pan…but I’m DEFINITELY buying one next! Any suggestions?? Also, I think it’s a cute coincidence that I found out about you in the most recent Everyday Food…then you almost immediately publish a “barely” adapted MS recipe! ;) LOVE YOU!!! Thanks!

  46. Juliet

    I made Martha’s version from her New Pies and Tarts book twice… rave reviews both times. The only problem I encountered was that the crust which I had pressed up against the sides of the pan slid back down to the bottom of the pan while in the oven. Looking at Deb’s pictures, I suspect I made not have packed the crumb mixture well enough. I’ll just have to try it again.

  47. Heather

    I have been making this since it was published way back in 1999, while living in what seems to be an entirely different universe. Thus the smile on my face when reading your post. I always add the raspberries but definately agree on the soggy crust factor the next day.

  48. I noticed that the ingredient list for the crumb base includes 1/4 t. cinnamon, but the directions call for 1/2 t. cinnamon…not a huge difference and being a cinnamon junkie, I would go with the bigger amount. Just wondering which was correct and if the larger measurement would be too much.

  49. I love those Italian Prune plums so much, growing up with trees and trees of them. I miss that… my Mom made Plum Kuchen, Plum cobblers, canned plums (a personal favorite) and even dried plums. I need to try this, especially with those hazelnuts, but I bet almonds would work out too.

  50. Leslie

    Hi Deb! – I have a tree that is raining nectarines (another currency that can be exchanged for beer) and I wonder if you see any difficulties with substituting the plums with nectarines? Thanks, and cannot wait for the cookbook!

  51. novicegourmet

    Hi! I am a 13 year old who loves to bake, cook, read cook books, read smitten kitchen… Your blog is my favorite! I love all your recipes and the photos are immaculate!
    Jacob is the cutest! :) Thanks for having such a cool blog! :)

    1. deb

      Re, replacing plums with other fruits — The big issue will be the water content. You’d want to use something firm and not too juice, or you risk the center not setting/the crust getting soggier faster.

      Christina — Thanks, fixed.

  52. Sounds glorious. I love hazelnuts…and am not generally a fan of custard either. But, oddly, last week I made a 30s recipe for a custardy bread pudding (in which I also used fresh peaches). It was good–my nephew copied down the recipe before he left!

  53. Lydia

    OMG this is exactly the kind of recipe I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for yesterday (and never found) so NOW I can actually make something with my plums! Thanks again!!!

  54. old news you might say, but it looks delicious! I love plums, they are all over the trees here in England at the moment, I’m going to be making plum chutney this week which will give me some great plum tastes all winter.
    I love the thought of all those deserts you are going to be making, I bet you can’t bear to give any away?!

  55. Hi Deb- I have this in the oven as I type, made with cream cheese instead. I’ll let you know how it turns out. But, I just wanted to let you know about one little typo – in the paragraph for the filling, ‘nutmeg’ needs to be after the word ‘fresh’. Not a biggie, just thought I’d let you know. ;)

  56. Susan

    This looks great, perhaps even for Rosh Hashana. (I try to balance the apple/pear desserts with the plum variety, since all three are kind of traditional.) I just hate that the holiday is potentially too late for Italian plums this year!

  57. gil

    Wow, this looks amazing.
    gonna make it as soon as possible!
    I think you’re missing the word nutmeg in the second to last paragraph at the end of “gratings of fresh…”.
    Thanks for another great recipe.

  58. meg

    Hazelnut crust? Custard filling? Fresh fruit? Streusel topping? I think those are all my favorite dessert components (except for chocolate) rolled into one. Looks like another recipe for my “to-bake” list.

  59. Lisa

    Deb

    Just took that incredible tart out of the oven(letting it cool). I made your creamcheese version and had to have a taste,so I could post the results,you know I am doing it for a worthy cause for my fellow foodies!!! It is unbelievably light and yummy,good to go!

  60. hi deb, another great recipe! quick question – i am allergic to tree nuts, so therefore, hazelnuts, macadamias, and pretty much anything except peanuts are off-limits for me. do you think an extra 1/3 cup of flour would be an okay substitute? thanks!

  61. alisonellen

    I have been an avid Smittenkitchen reader for many years now, and have only recently begun to try your recipes – the orange chocolate chunk cake was a major hit with the family :) Just this weekend I bought my first springform pan AND have some leftover heavy cream in the fridge from my last baking adventure, so this recipe is definitely in my near future! As I am an unemployed recent college graduate on a budget (hence the $1 springform pan from a fleamarket), any ideas as a substitute for the pricey hazelnuts?

  62. in lieu of the heavy cream, i used fromage frais and it worked like a champ! in fact, the swiss mister just had a second slice. for breakfast. *cough*

    we just got a ton of plums from his family’s tree this saturday and then i saw your latest post and thought, duh. too bad it’s over 90 degrees with high humidity. i baked anyway. i mean, we were already all sweaty…

    if i hadnt already made a sauce for pancakes with the mirabelles, that would have been a nice thing to add in, methinks.

  63. With this recipe I can convince my family to “donate” some plums for a crumb tart; we have quite many kilos that will be made into jam (no sugar added, slowly cooked for hours). Excellent photos, Deb!

  64. I struggle with the crusts on tarts. They seem to be either too hard or they fall apart. I have tried several different recipes, the recent one I tried was delicious with nuts in it, but fell apart when trying to serve it. I will give this one a try, there has to be good tart crust recipes out there.

    ~Brenda

  65. DJ

    hi, this is my first comment, have been lurking & baking/cooking for ages and love this site, so many thanks for sharing this labour of love!

    I made this tart/crumble this morning with Victoria plums from my garden (I made 7 plum tarts from the recipe adapted from Nigel Slater/Dorie Greenspan and needed to change it up!–and can I just say that my partner, who doesn’t like fruit, ate and ate and ate those tarts).

    I decided to try the cream cheese version and it is chilling in the fridge right now. I struggled with the butter–for some reason mine seemed to have too much and went leaky, but put it on a tray & carried on. Perhaps I would add a bit more flour to my next attempt or a bit less butter. Not sure.

    just thought I would share that the cream cheese (non custard) version works well if there is no cream in the house. :)

  66. I Just saw a huge selection of different plums at my Sunday farmer’s market and thought I would love to use them but didn’t have a clue what to do with them. This is a great idea. I hope they still have plums next week so I can give this a try. Thanks Deb!

  67. wilizmum

    Made this today with a mixture of victorias and greengages. it worked perfectly and i can see this recipe coming in v useful in the autumn. my husband is now flat out having eaten three slices of this for dessert!
    great recipe, thanks deb

  68. Christine

    OMG just saw you and Jacob in the new edition of Everyday Food. Love reading your blog and making your recipies. Thanks Deb

  69. Marie M.C.

    Decades ago, back in the very dark ages, BTV. That’s Before Television, folks. Yes, there was a time. We listened to the radio and read books. Anyhow, we’d go to The River and swim til we turned blue. On the far side of the river was a steep bank with fine silt that made it difficult to climb. But climb we did because at the top was a plum orchard with the juiciest best tasting fruit. So juicy they would squirt, so tasty I can still recall it. *Sigh.* Where are those fruits today? Why can’t we buy them? Hey, hey, hey. I just read you AND Jacob (aka the cutest kid with the most beautiful head of hair) are in this month’s Everyday Food. Whoopee. Gotta stop this chit-chat, run and get me a copy! Congratulations!

  70. Okay. This is so good. I made it yesterday with cream cheese [I used 4 ounces] and walnuts instead of hazelnuts. It is fantastic! My only problem was the crumb topping – I didn’t get as much as the recipe stated, but I just made a little more and it was fine. [It’s possible I did something wrong. I had two little ones vying for my attention].

    Anyway. This is a lovely lovely tart. I had a recipe similar to this [no nuts in the crumb topping and jam instead of fruit] and although I like it I am replacing it with this. Because it is so much better. Those little plums! They are so pretty.

    And! Congrats on your Time shout out! I was so happy the recognized you. You deserve it.

  71. Laura

    My grandmother was born in Russia (now Ukraine) but was an ethnic German and immigrated to the US in the 20s. Her family made a custard pie (called kuchen) that had a sweet bread crust with a fruit custard filling very familiar to yours. It was (and is) delicious and is traditionally made with stone fruit (plums, peaches, pears, apricots). Thanks for taking me back to my childhood memories with this one! Think I’ll make kuchen w/ some of my overabundance of plums!

  72. A husband’s co workers are always so helpful for those of us who like to make sweets as much as we like to eat them. I, too, send them away after a piece (okay, two or three) and he brings back their appreciation in return.

  73. Stephanie

    Hello! This my first time posting but I had to after making this recipe. I followed your recipe almost exactly, except I ended up using more heavy cream instead of the milk and I cooked it for longer than your recipe indicated (the former due to the fact that I was too lazy to walk down the block for a carton of milk and the later probably due to the fact that my oven is literally the width of a cookie sheet). The result was incredible and debuted to rave reviews. The crust was dense with a mild hazelnut flavor and the top layer came out almost with a glazed appearance and a nice crunch. Obviously, just using heavy cream was a bit on the less healthy side but the plums, custard, and crust came together perfectly. I use a 5-star rating system for the recipes that I try and this one earned a 5-Plus. I can’t wait for your cookbook!

  74. SusanL

    Deb! How is it your recipe postings always coincide with my co op haul? This is clearly not because we both cook with seasonal stuff. No! You have magic mind-reading super powers! Anyhow, I just hauled away the 10lb plum sampler pack from my co op on Saturday because, you know, I think that’s a reasonable amount of plums for just my husband and I. This looks like just the ticket to make a dent in my stash. Thank you darling!

  75. anaheeta

    Deb!

    Made this tart for a friends birthday yesterday and it was a huge hit! Used walnuts and powdered jaggery instead of brown sugar and it was super…thanks so much…was wondering about the tart shell though – when i took it out of the oven after 20 mins, the sides were kinda crisp but the base was soggy – is it supposed to be that way…one more thing…sprinkling the reserved crumbs over the liquid custard caused the crumbs to almost immed. get soggy – is that to be expected?

  76. Laetitia

    I have been in hazelnut hell the past week as I was suddenly seized by the uncontrollable, immediate need to make use of a 2lb bag of hazelnuts I purchased LAST DECEMBER because I could no longer stand, even for one more second, the loss of cabinet space. That brown paper bag stared back at me hatefully everytime I went for my baking ingredients. Hissing at me. So, I made hazelnut thumbprint cookies, hazelnut praline paste, hazelnut praline buttercream, and your recipe for hazelnut brown butter cake (sublime), and then finally, blissfully, I was free. the nuts were gone. I won’t go into the psychological spiral that resulteed in me purchasing more the next day. Suffice it to say, I am SICK of toasting and peeling hazelnuts, which is an especially odious task when compared to the joy of blanching almonds which has a satisfaction factor right up there with popping bubble wrap. Anyway, I did some research and I have found some sources that cite Julia Child as recommending boiling the hazelnuts with 4 tbsp baking soda for 3-4 minutes, until the skin slips off a test nut (put in cold water first.) Then you rinse them with cold water in a collander and supposedly – POOF! – they come right off and the ones that don’t can easily be removed by hand. And then you toast them in the oven 15 – 20 min. Sounds like magic. Sounds too good to be true. Ever tried it?

  77. OK, I have everything but the hazelnuts, and going to the store for a third time this week is not in the cards. I wonder if walnuts would work just as well? Going to give it a shot. Thanks for the inspiration to plow through the delicious plum glut!

    Stephanie, across the way over here in Brooklyn — cheers!

  78. Barbara

    Hi, I just came to this blog through the Bloggess and I spent entirely too much time scrolling through your great recipes and reading your narrative. Thanks a lot!

  79. I have had a subscription to Martha Stewart Living since 1994. I have never thrown a single one away. They have moved with me to New Orleans, Chicago, and Los Angeles. They are indispensible, and I adore them! I don’t know how I would get all 17 years worth out in a fire, but I would seriously do it. I use them constantly for reference and ideas. Which is how I too, find myslef making a cake from 1996 occasionally, or a chicken stew from 2001. :) Can’t wait to make THIS plummy goodness.

  80. Speaking of plums, I recently made a plum version of your Strawberry Summer Cake, and it was absolutely perfect! Have you tried something like this yet?
    (Actually, now that I think of it, I should probably write a comment there… ah well, I’ll get to it.)

  81. Danie

    Made this last night and used brown sugar instead of granulated in the custard/filling because I ran out of granulated sugar. Also, I added a tablespoon of Deb’s homemade ricotta cheese (recipe on website) and the outcome was…DELICIOUS!

  82. Lisa

    Just finished baking this following the recipe to the dot. However, the baking time of 45-50min maybe a bit too short – the custard filling has not set yet deeming the tart way too wet. I had to rebake it for an additional 20min….Any advice?

  83. Greg

    Just came across your blog! Can’t wait to start digging into some of these fabulous looking recipes. The last time I made a plum tart, I used puff pastry and jam… The plums I used were very sour though, so the plum part came out very sour….Can’t wait to try this one!

  84. gg

    I just finished making this and made peace with the fact that you are a genious. And, I must say, your writing is SO awesome. So I enjoy visiting your corner in more ways than one. Can’t wait for the book!

  85. Ida

    Currently this tart is cooling in my kitchen. My kitchen smells heavenly! Yet I am not convinced about the crust. The sides went down completely during baking and the whole crust looked like melted. I followed your recipe to the dot, even chilled the crust before baking (always provides better results).
    Please keep your fingers crossed, that it worked out once the cake is chilled. (couldn’t help and eat some dough before putting it into the pan. did anybody else find the crust much to sweet?)

  86. I attempted this recipe this morning and had disastrous results with the crust. It was a pool of butter and shrunk/collapsed into a flat pancake! Any words of advice? I followed the recipe to a T – no subs and even chilled and cooked it at a slightly higher temp in anticipation of possible melting?!! HELP! It looks so good :)

  87. Amy

    I made this tart for the first time today and it came out fabulously!! Followed recipe exactly (used weights for measuring). Crust was perfect…shrunk a little but went back into place with spoon as suggested. Also, used glass to push crust into and up sides. Chilled fully before serving and it was wonderful!!

  88. Paula

    Wow. I made this to take to a coworker’s party and salivated over it all day trying not to cut into it before the party. Not only is this confection positively delicious, but also it made my entire studio apartment smell like donuts. Winner, Deb. WINNER.

  89. ellen

    I made this on a whim at a friend’s house so had to make some substitutions. She had scarce nuts on hand so we used a combination of pecans and almonds and we baked it in regular square baking pan instead of springform. What we did have were perfect Dutchess County long john plums. Came out delicious! Didn’t have the same presentation value but came out of pan just fine with no sticking, fyi.

  90. Stephanie

    Made this for a dinner party last night to rave reviews. In the 9th hour decided to follow your hunch re: the cream cheese “riff” and substituted the cream cheese for most (not all) of the heavy cream…delicious. Also, I used pecans for the crust as I have been unable to find hazelnuts (I live in central Mexico so these things can be hard to come by at times)…the pecans worked great for the crust/crumbs. Overall: YUM.

  91. Kelli

    Made this yesterday and experienced the same liquidy buttery mess in the pre-bake stage, initially I blamed it on our awful oven, but then remembered this type of issue can arise from using dark non-stick pans, which I was. I wasn’t wasting all the incredible ingredients I purchased, so I persisted by pushing the crust up the sides with a spoon and let it chill til solid. It worked out amazingly, but I also baked it a little longer than the recipe calls for because the custard wasn’t golden yet. First time commenter because this tart is just that good! Thanks so much!!

  92. I made someething similar to this (and posted on it) two years ago I think–a red plum tart with hazelnut and brown butter from a Nancy Silverton recipe. It was fantastic–you are right about the melding of flavors. And I was laughing about your overload of desserts. I take them to work (where I still nibble on them all day), but even then it’s hard to konw what to do with them all. I went on a baking tear yesterday with Irene, and at some point mid-afternoon looked in horror at all the sugar and threw half of my output in the freezer.

  93. Jennifer

    I made the tart for a dinner party Saturday night. I thought it would go well with the Italian meal I had planned. It was really great! My family liked it so much that I had to make another one yesterday for us. I made it as is, no cream cheese substitution, because I wanted a “lighter” custard. I loved the quantity of hazelnut in the crust/crumb. The flavor enhanced the fruit, but did not overpower it. Great recipe! Thanks, Deb.

  94. also! I just made a new batch with mirabelles. i kept the fromage frais substitution i did last time and added some ginger for pizazz. also cut down on the sugar, but i always do that with fruit–they have so much natural sugar anyway!

  95. Amy

    I made this Saturday with white peaches instead of plums, and almonds instead of hazelnuts. Very good! Looking at your picture, I don’t think the walls of my crust were nearly as thick. I might make more crust next time. The peaches were perfectly ripe, but they have a more delicate flavor than plums. I should have added some lemon juice or zest to liven up the flavor. It did start to weep the next day – I’m also not convinced that I baked it for as long as I should have, though the custard did look set.

    I’m thinking of making this with apples this weekend – thoughts? I’m toying with the idea of cooking them slightly to get them to release some of their liquid ahead of putting them in the filling – but wondering if that’s necessary. They don’t seem like they’d be any juicier than the peaches I used.

  96. Can I just say this recipe would be fantastic for my dinner party on Saturday as we have a stack of plums in our garden and are rapidly running out of new and exciting ways to cook with them. Thanks for this recipe.

  97. Rachel

    I am nothing if not compliant. I made it with the cream cheese and it was delicious….actually reminded us a lot of a rhubarb dessert my mom makes (perhaps my plums were more on the firm than the ripe side?). My family of 5 polished the whole thing off in less than 24 hours. My Chinese mother-in-law has decreed me “world’s best pastry chef” — this dessert sealed the deal. In fairness, she doesn’t get out much! LOL. Seriously, I would like to highlight the delicate hazenut flavor of this a bit more — could I use more of them? Could I swap out for a more neutral fruit (not sure what that would be) or sub vanilla for the cinnamon? Lead me, master.

  98. This looks delectable. I have hazelnut meal, and I’m wondering if I could sub at least part of the flour without losing the texture and bumping up the hazelnut flavor. If so, I know what I’m making this weekend.

  99. Although I over-mixed the dough – resulting in not enough to cover, and a different, more crust-like texture, it still came out delicious. Will try it the right way soon cause I crave that crumbly crunch.

    @abby – the plastic bag hazelnut skinning method worked great.

  100. kookie in London

    Made this last night for our wedding anniversary dinner. Very good. I did not find the crust too sweet, and I really liked the hazelnut flavour. I used Victoria plums and found the tartness a nice balance to the filling and crumb. We had ours with ice cream and I’m looking forward to having another slice today after lunch. I was thinking if I make it again I might try mixing a little bit of the crumb with a bit of the extra egg white, to see if it helps with holding the base together a bit better – could just bake on a sheet for a few min and see how it sets as it cools. Lovely post deb, I miss all your lovely cake posts! Cannot wait for the book!

  101. I have a 6 and 8 year old and this is the first year our plum tree produced enough plums to do anything with. So the kids and I had a old fashioned harest and made this together…. We did use the cream cheese and I added a few exta nuts figured why not? Its was perfect…. whipped up some fresh cream to do wit it…

  102. Caroline

    Huh, I didn’t know you used to live in DC! You always sounded like a native New Yorker. These days, rent in DC is pretty much on par with NYC. Which neighborhood did you live in?

    1. deb

      Hi Caroline — I went to GWU for undergrad and grad school. Let’s see, I lived in dorms and dorms and dorms and then K Street then way up by Crestwood and then in Columbia Heights.

  103. Myriam

    I did it! and it didn’t turn out well..i replaced the heavy cream with mascarpone cheese? would that cause the custard to stay in liquid form after baking? or did it need more time in the oven? :(

  104. Allison

    I made this last week for some family and we all loved it!! We actually all agreed that it was better on the second day, and being in the fridge overnight. Will definitely be adding this to my recipe collection. Thanks!

  105. Sara GS

    I made this once a few weeks ago with walnuts (no hazelnuts to be found) and the original custard filling. Delicious, as all the above comments testify. THEN I made it again today (because it is my new favorite dessert) and I used half hazelnuts and half almonds and tried the cream cheese replacement (I also used some mildly water-diluted heavy cream in place of the milk). Still delicious! I think the cream cheese is a subtle flavor here–the main events for me are the crust/topping and the beautiful sweet and tart plums. Thanks for all your wonderful foods and thoughtful words, Deb.

  106. I made this tonight and it was delicious. After telling the husband about substituting red wine for buttermilk and cream cheese for heavy cream, he suggested substituting sour cream for the heavy cream instead of running down (and up) 6 flights to get the missing heavy cream for this tart. It worked beautifully, and set up perfectly while still warm.

  107. I was given a huge box of Italian plums last week and have already made this tart twice to rave reviews! The combination of flavors is so perfect in this recipe, can’t get enough of the hazelnut crust. I’ll be sad when the plums are gone, hoping to squeeze at least one more tart in this fall. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.

  108. kathy in St Louis

    Made it a few nights ago. I ought to have tasted the plums before I started, because the whole thing was a little too sweet for me; I would’ve adjusted the sugar level in both the custard and the crumbs. Still, I like it, and I might double the plums next time. (p.s. half & half in place of the milk & cream works just fine.)

  109. Hilde

    To be honest I think the recipe needs some tweaking… too much butter in the crust. Mine slumped beyond belief and I had to make it again with less butter and it still happened. It was salvageable, though. I chose not to put crumb on top and serve it more as a custard tart, displaying the gorgeous Italian plums I found at the farmer’s market. So, so in my opinion.

  110. Kathy in St Louis

    Hilde, I had a butter problem, too, but I attribute it to two things: I use Aldi brand butter (because it’s the cheapest I can find in STL, and because I lived in Wisconsin, where I commonly bought butter for $1.75 per pound, I am bitterly committed to not paying twice that for butter in STL), which seems to be very high in water content, and because my butter wasn’t cold enough. My method may not have helped, either: I let the KitchenAid cut in the butter. (I think I’d have been better off to have cut it in by hand.) I probably should have also chilled the pressed-in crust thoroughly before I baked it. In any case (she sighed), the bottom crust baked up all pitted as the butter boiled through and ended up hard around the edges — not at all what should have happened. Ah, well. I think it was just me.

  111. Hilde

    I used Lurpak (not cheap! and I had to remake it!) and refrigerated it, AND cut it by hand. Maybe I’m just not meant to be friends with this recipe ;)

  112. This looks absolutely delicious and I’m making this tomorrow. Not a singe recipe that I followed on your site for the past two years has failed and this won’t either, I hope.
    Thanks!

  113. Rachel

    WHOA DUDE that crust was a major failure for me! I had the same experience as Hilde – followed the recipe to the letter, crust was mushy so I chilled it before putting it in the oven, and it turned into a soupy, bubbly, buttery pool in the oven (complete with holes where the butter had boiled off). Very very sweet, too – I don’t think that would have been popular with my crowd of 18 :) Instead, I used the following crust recipe, which it worked like a dream and was not so overpoweringly sweet, too: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Hazelnut-Tart-108124

  114. Rachel

    Oh – one more thing – there was about half as much custard as was needed (it didn’t come up to the top of the fruit), so I wound up doubling that part of the recipe (in addition to using the other crust).

  115. WHOA DUDE that crust was a major failure for me! I had the same experience as Hilde – followed the recipe to the letter, crust was mushy so I chilled it before putting it in the oven, and it turned into a soupy, bubbly, buttery pool in the oven (complete with holes where the butter had boiled off).

  116. Kate

    I initially had issues with the crust as well! I began by making it all in the food processor and using way too much cooking spray in the pan — it turned into a bubbling oozing mess and I ended up throwing it down the garbage disposal. Then I tried again following the exact instructions and, while the crust needed much coaxing and fiddling, it ultimately worked out. The final product (despite some bumps along the way) was absolutely delicious!! I substituted pluots from Whole Foods for the plums and they worked perfectly. I also served it with a maple infused whipped cream which paired very well.

  117. sarahbyrdd

    Another slumping crust here. Of course today is very hot and humid and the crust turned dough like rather than crumby. If I try this again I’ll chill the flour etc as well as use chilled butter and bake the crust between weighted foil and see if that helps. It smells magnificent though.

  118. Adam

    After reading the comments about slumping crusts, I checked the proportions, and realized they’re very close to a super-easy pat-in crust I make all the time with no fail for an apple kuchen (with custard), so I forged ahead, with the following two modifications: first, I left out the brown sugar and some of the nuts from the crust, until I had taken out the crust part, and then just added some brown sugar and the rest of the nuts for the crumbs on top. Second, and probably more important, I didn’t bother pre-baking it at all! I simply put it in the fridge while making the filling, and the baked the whole thing for 5-10 extra minutes. It came out perfectly browned and delicious. I’m sure the prebaking must add some extra good toastiness, but it was pretty excellent even without.
    (Oh, and I did use 4oz of cream cheese in it, which would probably have made it more cheesecakey if we had let it chill thoroughly–but guests were coming and we put it out after just an hour in the fridge, and it was devoured immediately, so we’ll find out next time!)

  119. Alison

    I made this over the weekend. The only modification I made was to sub heavy cream for the milk because I didn’t have any on hand. It was delicious, though I couldn’t taste the hazelnuts in the crust at all. Next time I think I’d just use an equal weight of almond meal so I don’t have to clean the food processor. My bottom crust didn’t get soggy, but I wrapped it tightly to bring to a picnic and the top got a little mushy. We still ate it happily. Will definitely be making this again.

  120. Stef

    I made this last night, subbing 4 large McIntosh apples for the plums, and 3 oz cream cheese for the heavy cream. It turned out quite tasty! I do recommend keeping an eye on the crust and using a spoon to make sure the edges stay in place-I had to do this three times during baking, but it wasn’t a big deal. I tried some warm with ice cream on top last night, and that was good, however I think I prefer the chilled slice I just enjoyed :)

  121. Just baked this tart and it was A-MA-ZING! The crust is like an incredible hazelnut toffee and it perfectly balances out the tartness of the plums. I totally see what you mean about adding the cream cheese for a more cheese-cakey affect. I bet that would be rich and super decadent… which I will try next time.

  122. Juana

    I want to do this recipe for a very long time. Finally give up and did it with Peaches instead of plums. It is still in the oven, but so far, so good.

  123. Olga

    Cream cheese works perfectly. Not a very experienced baker here, but this turned out wonderfully when I substituted 1/3 cup of cream cheese for the heavy cream. Beautifully tart filling with sweet crust. Everybody loved it, but it hardly made a dent in the bounty from my plum tree. There’ll be two or three more of these on the way…

  124. Sorelle

    I’ve had my eye on this amazing looking recipe now for a while and am finally going to make it for my mom’s birthday in a few days. I’m prepping ahead and just realized that 1/3 c hazelnuts is not 1 3/4 oz at all! Which one is right? Should I just go by the weight?
    Please help, Thanks!

  125. Sorelle

    So sorry! Figured it out- a very blonde moment for me this morning… It was early, I have to try and do all the components of a 3 course meal in mornings and evenings as I work the next 3 days solid and her birthday is on the third night. Little stressed, but I hope all goes well here on out, I’ll post how it turned out for me