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I may not be a huge fan of summer’s heat but I cannot overstate how much I love its fruit, and I think today’s rustic steam oven plum tart will show exactly why.
Peaches, nectarines, berries, apricots, mangoes, love them all. I never buy the out of season fruit from half a world away (because it’s bad. And expensive. Did I mention bad? Hard, tasteless, gassed, weirdly textured bad), so summer fruits are some of the few foods I really do wait for to be seasonally available.
Surprise surprise, my kids also love summer fruit. Well, all fruit, come to think of it. But my 3 year old will actually inhale his body weight in plums, nectarines and mangoes if you let him, so that doesn’t always leave much excess lying around here.
In the rare instances there are a few extra plums hanging around in the fruit bowl, I love cooking with them (who am I kidding, I buy a whole extra bag of them for exactly this purpose).
Although I like them fresh, plums really come into their own when they’ve had some heat and a touch of sugar applied – the colour and flavour intensify and they take on this gloriously soft and slightly jammy texture. I could eat them all year, and would if I could only figure out a way for us not to consume even the hopeful stash I put in the freezer ‘for winter’ by about mid April.
I’ve posted about straight up roasted plums before and those are still my go-to way of using up a bag of ripe fruit, but today I want to share my one of my favourite desserts – a combi steam galette (or freeform tart).
I won’t turn down a pear, apple or apricot version but this tart, bursting with ripe clothes-staining purple fruit, just barely held together by a roughly rolled and scrunched disc of flaky pastry, is king of them all.
I’d happily serve it to guests with cream or ice cream alongside, but mostly I make it when it’s just us at home and we eat some for dessert then finish off the rest, cold, for breakfast the next day. Indulgent? Yep. But I tend to make mine barely sweetened so I don’t feel too bad about having a piece to start the day. Also, I happen to not care at all what you may think of my dessert-for-breakfast penchant and have no intention of changing my ways in that regard.
I’ve given the recipe below for my current favourite pastry, made with sour cream (for body and a just-barely-noticeable tang) and oats. The oats are completely optional but I like to add a few, finely ground, in place of some of the flour as they give a bit of textural and flavour variance and are an easy way to add more wholegrains to our diets. If you don’t want to add them, or don’t have a food processor to grind them, an equal proportion of whole wheat flour works just as well.
I’d love to know whether you try this – drop a comment below or shout out on Facebook or Instagram (for insta, tag #whatsinthesteamoven, then we can all search and see what everyone’s making!). If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and there are no plums, I’d highly recommend pears as a wintery take on the theme, or make a savoury version with roasted root vegetables and a touch of cream or cheese (leave the sugar out of the pastry). Once you’ve discovered the joys of a combi steam galette you’ll always have a quick and impressive dish to knock together for last minute guests. Or yourselves. No one’s judging.
Happy steam oven cooking, see you here again soon.
Rustic Plum Tart
- 2/3 cup rolled oats or half a cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbs superfine sugar caster
- 5.3 oz unsalted butter chilled and cubed
- 5.3 oz sour cream cold
- 1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
- 8 plums medium size, black or red, quartered and stones removed
- 2 tbs caster sugar maybe a little more, depending how sweet your fruit is
Make the pastry
- Put the oats, if using, in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they’re ground almost to a flour (but not quite – a bit of texture is nice).
- Add the flour, salt and sugar and pulse to combine. Drop in the butter and sour cream and run the processor just until the pastry comes together in a few clumps. Tip it onto a large piece of cling film and bring the dough together with your hands, pressing it into a disc about 2.5cm/1” thick before wrapping in the cling film and setting aside in the fridge for at least half an hour or up to a day.
- When you’re ready to cook, set your oven to 400⁰F/200⁰C on combination steam setting. If your oven has variable steam settings, use 50%. If not, don't worry! Just set to combi steam at the correct temperature and the oven will figure out the humidity for you. Line a dark coloured baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge, place it on a flour-dusted bench and roll it into a rough circle about 25cm/10” diameter. Don’t worry if the edges crack and it’s not completely even, you won’t notice this later. Transfer the pastry to the lined baking tray.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the pastry, leaving a 5cm/2” border all the way around (the crumbs are there to soak up any excess juices from the fruit which might stop the bottom of the galette cooking properly). Pile the cut plums over the top of the breadcrumbs and sprinkle with the sugar, then gently lift and pleat the pastry around the fruit to encase everything. If you get any tears or holes just squash it back together or patch with a little piece of pastry torn off the top edge. You could glaze the pastry edges with egg yolk at this point, though I don’t usually bother.
- Cook the galette for 25-30 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and collapsed and the pastry is golden brown. If your galette is like the one I photographed, you might have a couple of spots where the juices burst through the pastry. I don’t worry too much about that – the juice just pools around the edge of the galette a bit but shouldn’t affect the base. Remove from oven and allow to cool until warm before serving with cream or ice cream, if you like. Any leftovers are delicious cold or can be reheated in your steam oven the next day.
- The quantity of fruit you use here is a bit subjective – you want it piled up in roughly a double layer but no more, otherwise the juices from all that fruit steaming away at the bottom are going to make your tart soggy. So use your best judgment, one more or less fruits than the given quantities might be what you need.
- And, I’ve mentioned it before, but when I cook filled pastry in the steam oven I always try to do so on a black or dark grey tray rather than stainless steel, because the heat transfer seems to brown the bottom more easily.
But I don’t have a steam/combi-steam oven! Just bake it! Pop the whole thing in a regular oven set to 190⁰C, fan forced, for around 45 minutes.
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After some other steam oven baking ideas? Have a look at the Baking index – I always love the Lemon Ricotta Cake, or if you’re a chocolate freak try the 12 Minute Steam Oven Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting.