Now at first glance you would not say that this Plum Tart is very pretty. You would probably say that the crust is burnt and uneven and the filling looks a bit messy. I don't think we would be making it through to the next round if this was a cooking competition ( Yes, I watch way to much Food Channel)
This is my story of the Plum Tart.
When I was in high school I dated this boy After a few months he invited me over to his house for dinner. I met his mom who seemed nice. She had a very strong Swiss accent and didn't really appear to like me much. I couldn't even tell you what we had for dinner but I will never forget the dessert. When the Plum Tart was brought out I was fascinated. I had never seen such a thing. (keep in mind I was raised on White cake and Hostess). The Tart itself seemed very rustic with a crust on the bottom and a layer of plums perfectly laid out in a circular pattern On top of the plums looked to be some sort of custard. The family seemed eager to dive in so I did the same. My 1st bite was absolutely horrible. I wanted desperately to spit it into my napkin or feed it to the dog under the table. Being the polite dinner guest and the fact that I really liked this boy I powered through it like a champion. The problem was that it was not sweet. The egg custard was just egg. Where was the Sugar?? I hated it!
Now lets fast forward 30 years. My boyfriends mom with the Swiss accent I'm pretty sure loves me almost as much as I love her and I have had to power through her Plum tart more times than I can count. She has been dealing with some health problems recently, and her memory has taken a serious decline, I have been helping her out with some of the day to day things and have really enjoyed the time I'm spending however it can be very difficult at times. The neighbors have been bringing her some gifts such as tomatoes from their gardens, homemade Jam and Plums.
This afternoon I suggested that we make a Plum Tart. Her eyes lite up immediately. As we rolled out the dough we laughed like l little girls, flour spilling onto the floor. We looked down at Jack, my dog who is never far away and he was covered in flour as well. She placed the dough into the pie plate and began to crimp the edges like she had done many times before. This time however the edges were not as crisp and precise as I remember but it didn't matter. She showed me how to pit the plums just so and how to arrange them on the crust. She forgot about the egg mixture which was fine with me ...wink wink... She forgot at which temperature to bake it so she guessed. It didn't really matter. What mattered was how happy this made her.
When we sat down to dinner our conversation was light and easy. She was not stressed out about how she forgot how to use the TV remote or couldn't remember who came to visit the day before. She was relaxed. She talked about when she was a little girl in Switzerland, her and her brother would eat plums until they felt like they would burst. She talked about when she took a boat to NY all alone to be a Nanny for a rich family when she barely spoke English. She smiled ear to ear as she spoke.
When it was time for dessert we brought out the Plum Tart that we had made together. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. We both sat and admired this little over baked Plum tart with the uneven edges and the messy filling for a few minutes before serving it.
That Plum Tart was like tasting a lifetime of memories.