The mirabelle plum has many varieties. I suppose every country has its typical ones. In France the most popular are Metzian mirabelle (from the city of Metz, but, of course, they are cultivated everywhere) and Nancy mirabelle, both appearing in August. The ones I have bought are Metzian mirabelles – small, round, with cute red freckles. They taste subtly sweet without being bland, they have a delicate flowery and honey-like smell and… are perfect in a simplest tart! Especially if you make your own slightly sweet butter pastry, roll it very thin, cover with a lot of fruit and sprinkle with light cane sugar, thus bringing out their subtle taste and aroma. Even though these are among the smallest plums, stoning my mirabelles was surprisingly effortless (the stones didn’t cling to the flesh).
Ingredients (for one round 24-26 cm diametre tart):
1 kg stoned and halved mirabelles
6 tablespoons light cane sugar
90g softened butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons caster sugar
Mix the butter, the salt and the caster sugar in a food processor. When these ingredients are mixed thoroughly, add the flour and mix again.
Stop when you see a big ball is being formed.
(You may also knead the pastry without the food processor, but then you have to do this very quickly, maximum 5 minutes, pushing with the heel of your hand and minimising the use of your fingers, otherwise the tart will be too crumbly.)
Wrap the dough in a cling film and put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes (you can leave it there up to 48 hours).
Take it out of the fridge and let it soften a bit before using it.
Roll it thinly with a rolling pin (I would advise 1/2 cm for a mirabelle tart) and line the tart pan.
Pick the surface with a fork and place it into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Take out the pastry and cover with mirabelle halves very tightly, overlaying parts of the fruit, so that not even a smallest part of the pastry is visible. Otherwise, since the fruit will shrink, you’ll end up with big empty spaces on your tart.
Sprinkle the cane sugar over the fruit and put the tart into the oven for around 45 minutes depending on your oven.
Bake until the tart sides are dark golden.