Everyone has a smell that reminds them of Christmas. Gingerbread, orange and cinnamon are all worthy contenders, but for me, there is something about marzipan that is inherently Christmassy. Ironically, Stollen or Christmas Cake are two things I definitely did not enjoy as a child (and I really don’t enjoy them as an adult either), however I was always that kid that made mum pick off the icing and marzipan so I could eat that all by itself.
As my love affair from marzipan stems from a place of Christmas nostalgia, I only ever incorporate it into my baking during the festive season. This time I’ve paired it with plums in a tart and called it Christmassy. I suppose it’s good at any time of the year, but for nostalgic purposes, it belongs right here.
This tart has been adapted by the ScandiKitchen cookbook – a cookbook that I recommend you buy immediately, simply for the beautiful photography alone. This recipe is reminiscent of a frangipane tart, such as a Bakewell tart, but only in flavour as this uses marzipan in the mixture, as opposed to the more traditional ground almonds. This results in a much more flavoursome, rich and dense tart as opposed to a more ‘cakey’ tart (think along the lines of an ‘almondy’ Tart Au Citron). If you’re not a fan of plums, I imagine blueberries or cherries would work just as well. Also, to speed things up you can use shop-bought shortcrust pastry, Jus-Rol have a shortcrust that is suitable for vegans.
Ingredients for the pastry (if using home-made):
- 315g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 225g cold dairy-free butter, cubed (I used Stork Baking Block)
- 4 tbsp ice-cold water (put some ice cubes into a cup of water and measure it out from that)
Ingredients for the filling:
- 6-7 plums, de-stoned and quartered
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 150g marzipan, torn into small chunks (Morrisons own brand is vegan-friendly)
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g dairy free butter, softened (such as flora freedom spread)
- 6 tbsp aquafaba, (in replace of two eggs)
- 50g plain flour
Method for the pastry*:
- In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar & salt
- Add half of the cold cubed butter to the bowl and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs
- Add the rest of the butter to the bowl and rub in, but this time leave larger lumps of butter, rather than rubbing it until it forms breadcrumbs like you did before
- Add 4 tbsp water and mix until the dough comes together, this should be enough but add more 1 tbsp at a time until the dough holds together when squeezed
- Place the dough on greaseproof paper and use this to press the dough into a disk-like shape (doesn’t have to be exact). Using the paper, fold the dough in half onto itself, press down and then fold it once again in the opposite direction. Repeat this process a few times until the dough is uniform. When ready, flatten down slightly and leave to chill in the fridge for at least half an hour
- Once chilled, cut the dough in half and use the other half for another time (I put the other half in a sandwich bag and placed it in the freezer for another time, just defrost and use as normal). On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a long rectangle until about 1/2 cm thick and line a 25cm (9in) tart tin, trimming off the excess that overhangs the sides. Leave to chill in the fridge while you make the filling
* alternatively, if you are using shop-bought just simply line the tart tin with the rolled out pastry, trim off the excess and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Method for the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 180oc
- Mix the chopped plums with the 2 tbsp of caster sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until the plums are coated – set aside.
- Mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in the torn pieces of marzipan until combined
- Add the aquafaba (or eggs if using) and mix. It will look split but that’s fine!
- Finally, fold in the flour and a pinch of salt
- Pour the filling into the chilled pastry case, then arrange the plums on top in a pretty pattern
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the pastry is golden at the edges, the filling is set but has a slight wobble in the middle (check after 45 minutes, but it took about 52 minutes in my oven)
- Leave to cool before slicing and serving with creme fraiche (Oatly do a lovely vegan version).