Five Spice-Infused Plum Tartlets
In these tartlets, five-spice powder infuses sweet-and-sour ripe plums with a warm, exotic flavor and hints of savoriness, while fresh ginger adds a peppery heat. The butter in the filling and pastry shells brings a roundness to the spices, making them taste full and intense.
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 Tbs. sugar
- 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
- 4 plums, halved, pitted and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 lime
- One 9-by-9 1/2-inch sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
In a small bowl, stir together the ginger, butter, 3 Tbs. of the sugar, the flour and the salt. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together the remaining 1 Tbs. sugar and the five-spice powder. Add the plums, squeeze the juice from the lime half over them and toss well.
Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Roll the pastry into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into thirds; you should have six 4-inch squares. Brush off any excess flour from the dough. Prick the dough squares all over with a fork, then fit the squares into six 3-inch tartlet pans, pressing the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of the pans. Press off any excess dough hanging over the sides of the pans.
Spread about 1/2 Tbs. of the ginger-butter mixture over the bottom of each tartlet, then top with the plums, dividing them evenly. Refrigerate the tartlets on a rimmed baking sheet for 30 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Bake the tartlets on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F and continue baking until puffed and browned around the edges, about 10 minutes more. Let the tartlets cool completely in their pans on a wire rack.
Remove the tartlets from their pans and serve on individual plates. Makes 6 tartlets.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).