You Salty Tart: Fresh Plum Tart with Goat Cheese and Walnut-Thyme Streusel

Salty desserts are all the rage. It seems we’re not satisfied anymore with simple sweets, we need them with smokey bacon! and Maldon salt! (And infused with the cereal-milk of our childhood dreams, but I haven’t tried that yet.)

This tart isn’t a brand-new invention, though—it’s from a 2003 Bon Appetit recipe. Anticipating the trend, I guess.

It’s a fun, light-feeling dessert, with a nutty crust and fresh, uncooked goat cheese and ricotta filling. If you wait for plums to be in season, you’ll get even tastier results. It’s quite impressive-looking, and doesn’t even require that you make pie crust!

The thing about salt in desserts, though, is that you have to be careful. One minute, you’re fun and edgy, but a few pinches of Maldon later, you’re serving pretzels with post-dinner coffee. So I’ve adjusted the salt a little in the recipe below. The sprinkle of Maldon or fleur de sel on top of the streusel is great, but the ricotta filling really didn’t need it.

Plum Tart with Goat Cheese and Walnut-Thyme Streusel
Adapted from Bon Appetit

For the crust
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup walnuts (about 2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 egg yolk

For the streusel
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup walnuts (about 3 ounces)
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Filling and Topping
8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
8 ounces (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

4 large plums (about 1 pound), halved, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel (I used Maldon sea salt) for garnish

For crust:
Blend first 4 ingredients in processor until nuts are finely ground. If you don’t have a food processor, chop nuts finely and add first 4 ingredients to a large bowl, blending with a pastry blender. Add butter; blend until coarse meal forms. Add egg yolk; blend until moist clumps form. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cover; chill 1 hour.

For streusel:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend flour, walnuts, both sugars, coarse salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom in processor until nuts are finely ground. (or chop nuts and use pastry blender in a large bowl.) Add thyme and blend 5 seconds. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until small moist clumps form.

Spread streusel mixture on rimmed baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Stir, then continue baking until golden brown, about 7 minutes longer. Cool streusel completely (mixture will become crisp).

For filling and topping:
Combine both cheeses, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon oil, sugar, nutmeg, and pepper in large bowl; stir to blend well. Refrigerate while baking crust.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust until sides are set, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake crust until golden brown, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 15 minutes longer. Cool crust completely.

Spread cheese filling in crust. Arrange plums in concentric circles atop filling, leaving 3/4-inch plain border. Sprinkle streusel lightly over tart. Refrigerate tart at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

Remove pan sides; place tart on platter. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cut tart into wedges.

In baking, dessert, fruit, tart

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