- 185g plain flour + 1 tsp for the filling + extra for dusting
- 140g caster sugar
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 115g butter
- 125ml whole milk
- 1 egg + 3 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 125ml double cream
- ½ vanilla pod
- A handful of basil
- 10 - 11 plums
- Icing sugar, for dusting
Prep: 45 mins | Cook: 1 hr 30 mins + chilling and infusing
1. Make the pastry first. Sift the flour into a bowl with 75g caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the cold butter and rub in with your fingertips to make fine crumbs. Whisk the egg with 1 tbsp cold water. Set 1 tbsp of the egg wash aside for later. Add the rest to the flour, 1 tbsp at a time, and gently stir with your hand till the pastry comes together. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 1 hr.
2. Make the custard by pouring the milk and cream into a pan. Scrape the seeds out of half a vanilla pod. Finely chop the basil leaves. Chuck the chopped basil, vanilla seeds and pod half into the pan. Bring the milk to the boil, stirring now and then. Take the milk off the heat and leave to infuse for 30 mins.
3. Strain the infused milk and gently reheat so it’s steaming hot but not boiling.
4. Whisk the 3 egg yolks, 40g caster sugar and 1 tsp of flour together. Slowly whisk in the hot milk, a little at a time, till you have a thick smooth custard.
5. Heat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
6. Carefully roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line a 23cm circular tart tin – the pastry will be quite soft. Add more flour if it's too soft to work with. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
7. Line the pastry tin with baking paper and fill it with baking beans or rice. Bake for 20 mins till the pastry feels firm. Take out the paper and beans. Brush the pastry with the saved egg wash and bake for another 15 mins till pale golden.
8. Turn the oven down to 160°C/Fan 140°C/Gas 2. Quarter 5 to 6 plums and scoop out the stones. Arrange the plums in the pastry case. Pour in the custard and bake for 30-40 mins till the tart is just set but wobbles a little when shaken. Leave to cool.
9. Halve, stone and roughly chop the rest of the plums for the sauce. Pop them in a pan with 25g caster sugar and plenty of black pepper. Cook and stir for 10 mins till they break down and make a thick sauce. Press through a sieve so you have a thin, clear sauce. Serve slices of the tart with the sauce, a dusting of icing sugar and some basil leaves.