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Plum and Almond Tart

ingredients

serves 6 - 8
one 375 g (13 oz) packet chilled ready made puff pastry
a little sifted icing sugar, for rolling out
one 250 g (9 oz) packet marzipan
675 g (1 1/2 lb) large ripe plums, halved and stoned
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
25 g (1 oz) light soft brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
25 g (1 oz) butter, cut into small pieces

method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5. Place a baking sheet in the oven to get hot.

2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a free-form rectangular shape about 46 x 20cm (18 x 8 in) in size and prick all over with a fork. Using a sharp knife, score a line 2.5cm (1 in) from the edges of the pastry, all around the case, to encourage the pastry to puff up even more and form a border when baked.

3. Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar, roll out the marzipan until quite thin, then place it on top of the pastry, leaving the pastry border uncovered. Cover the marzipan with the plums, cut-side down.

4. Mix the brandy in a bowl with the almond essence and splash the mixture over the plums. Combine the soft brown sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the plums.

5. Put the pieces of butter, evenly spaced, on top of the plums. Carefully transfer the tart on to the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. The pastry will puff up, leaving the tender plums resting in a tasty, dark almondy juice. If the pastry border becomes too brown while cooking, cover it with a strip of foil.

Serve hot, warm or cold with creme fraiche.

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