I'm reminiscing about the Dragon Knights this month. The first book started with a battle in October of 1204, so I'm going to start with a verra special and unique Highlander.
In honor of Duncan MacKay, the hero from my first book, Dragon Knight’s Sword, Order of the Dragon Knights, Book 1, I wanted to share one of his favorites ~ Damson (Plum) Tarts. This is a recipe I had on my original blog many years ago. As a bonus treat, I’ve included an excerpt from the book.
Excerpt, Dragon Knight’s Sword
His stomach growled as he sought out the kitchens, nodding to a passing guard.
The smell of baking hit him as he rounded the long corridor to the kitchens. Closing his eyes, Duncan inhaled the aroma. “Damson tarts.”
The plum and currant tarts were a favorite of his and he smiled inwardly knowing Moira had not only prepared them for the feast of Samhain, but for him, too.
His stomach rumbled, and he quickened his pace.
Duncan’s heart slammed inside his chest at the vision before his eyes when he entered the kitchens. One of the tables was laden with many tarts, yet it was the scene in the corner by the fire which undid him. He leaned against the wall for support and gazed upon the beauty.
Brigid was slumped in a chair with plum juice staining her hands and mouth. In her lap curled up against her was Nell—both sound asleep. A slight snore escaped from Brigid, and Duncan smiled.
Damson (Plum) Tarts
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped almonds
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), diced
1 egg yolk
2 pounds firm, ripe plums (or damsons), pitted and quartered lengthwise
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine the flour, almonds, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix by hand or with an electric mixer, until crumbly.
Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform or tart pan. Arrange the plums in the pan, skin side down to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in.
Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling.
Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer tart to flat plate.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
***Damson: A small fruit with vibrant, dark blue skin and a strong sour flavor. Damsons are similar to plums. They have a large stone (pit) and are often juicy, but tend not to be eaten raw due to the tartness of their flesh.