Vanilla Crusted Plum Tart

I bought a package of red plums from Costco, but of course couldn’t eat them fast enough before the skin began wrinkling very slightly. I decided to make some sort of tart with them so I started my search for a perfect recipe…


I realized I already had a great crust recipe from my friend’s mom, Mrs. Duff. We had dinner at their house when I lived in Pittsburgh and the dessert was a delicious cherry cake. It was a sweet cake-like crust with cherry pie filling inside. I asked for the recipe immediately! And guess what, there was a great story behind it…this is the email from Mrs. Duff:

Bridgetta was a lovely lady from Germany at that time known as a “War Bride” since she married a solider during or shortly after WWII.  The story goes that she came to this country with 2 things, a pair of candle sticks, and this recipe.  I don’t know how true the story was, but that is what I was always told.  I remember my mother trying to get the recipe from her.  It took my mother years before Bridgetta would give her the recipe. 

And now I will share it today along with this hearty plum filling. Thanks for sharing Mrs. Duff!

The plum filling goes well with this age-old recipe. It’s mostly fruit and you can control the amount of sugar. The crust is pretty sweet, so you may want to reduce the sugar in the filling depending on how tart the fruit is. Play around with the recipe – I may use this same crust again with cranberry filling from my cranberry shortbread recipe for Thanksgiving.

Vanilla Crusted Plum Tart

Yield:  One 9” Tart

Crust recipe from Bridgetta’s German Cake


For the Vanilla Crust

  • 2 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste (highly recommend the paste!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon milk (not non-fat or skim, I used 2%)
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

For the Plum Filling

  • 1 pound plums, sliced and pitted
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (increase if plums are tart)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Place the plums, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup of the sugar in a bowl and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.DSC_0313_webDSC_0317_webDSC_0319_web
  2. Mix butter and sugar in a food processor until combined. DSC_0320_webAdd flour and baking powder and pulse in the processor until rough crumbs form.DSC_0325_web
  3. In a separate bowl, mix egg, milk, and vanilla together. DSC_0321_webDSC_0323_webDrip egg mixture into flour and pulse processor until it forms a ball.DSC_0327_webDSC_0328_webDSC_0330_web
  4. Pat ½ of the dough in the bottom and up 1” of a 9 inch spring form pan.DSC_0332_webDSC_0333_web
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes without filling and remove from the oven. Take it out when it’s pink don’t let it brown!DSC_0334_web
  6. Put plum filling (or any filling) into baked crust.DSC_0336_webDSC_0337_webDSC_0338_web
  7. Break remaining dough into small pieces on top of plum filling, make sure edges are covered with pie dough.DSC_0339_webDSC_0341_webDSC_0342_web
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes on higher oven shelf until top is golden.

DSC_0347_webI highly recommend getting vanilla paste. I have been using it in all my recipes and it is so much more vanilla-y than vanilla extract! Plus, the vanilla bean speckles make everything look fancier. See the speckles in the crust?

DSC_0348_webUse a knife to separate the tart from the edges of the pan before unclipping the springform pan.

DSC_0349_webDSC_0350_webDSC_0351_webCut a big slice!


DSC_0365_webWatch me…eat…it

DSC_0370_webHave a bite! DSC_0373_webHope you enjoy the recipe as much as I did. Thanks for the crust Mrs. Duff!

Happy Thanksgiving!


6 thoughts on “Vanilla Crusted Plum Tart

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