Five Spice-Infused Plum Tartlets

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

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).

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