Simple tarts such as this are made throughout Switzerland. Sometimes the dough used is a piece of bought puff pastry, or a simple pie dough made from flour, butter, salt and water.  Here, we’re using some puff pastry whose buttery flavor perfectly complements the sharpness of the plums.  Later in the season this would be made with Zwetschgen, dark purple prune plums. This is based on a tart like this that I tasted when visiting the Locanda Gandriese in Gandria on the shore of Lake Lugano.  The side of the village where the inn is located is accessible only by boat from the lake.  In fact the village itself is so tiny that the inn’s address is simply “below the church.”

Makes about 12 servings


14 ounces/400 grams all-butter puff pastry, thawed if purchased frozen

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 pounds tart red plums, rinsed, halved, and pitted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled

Once large square baking pan such as the bottom of your stove’s broiler pan, buttered

  1. Place the puff pastry on a floured surface and flour the top of the dough.  Roll it thinly until it is at least 3 inches larger all around that the pan you’re using.
  2. Fold  the dough in half and lift it into the prepared pan.  Line up the fold with the middle line of the pan and unfold it into the pan.       Press the dough well against the bottom and side of the pan and fold over any overhanging dough into the pan and against the side.  Press the dough well against the sides of the pan so that it’s at least 1/4-inch above the rim of the pan.  Chill the dough for several hours or overnight.
  3. When you’re ready to bake the tart, set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  4. Stir the sugar and flour together in a mixing bowl and evenly scatter a handful of it on the bottom of the tart crust.
  5. Fold the plum halves into the remaining sugar and flour and arrange them slightly overlapping and skin side down in the crust.  Sprinkle with the vanilla extract and paper-thin slices of the butter.
  6. Bake the tart for 10 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 375      degrees.  Continue baking until the      crust is deep golden and the plums are softened.
  7. Cool in the pan and cut into square slices; serve with sweetened whipped cream.