plum and walnut tart

It’s taken me over an hour to type one word, plums. I know, it’s a heady seductive one. Sour. Dark crimson. Damson plums. Sweet. Plump. Italian plums. It’s not the fruit that has me all tongue tied and unable to write a sentence. Let’s get to the real reason which is this. Don’t give up. It’s the one thing I’m certain about: what you do and make matters. To me. And to many others.

As a writer and all around creative type, I’m constantly making work and sending it out for publication and through the din of silence or the clamor of rejections, we hope for a yes. We cling to it. For what? To know that what we’re doing matters to someone out there? That we, through a collection of words, can make a difference. The thing is, nothing changes with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ because the act of writing or creating is the same, I’m staring at the computer screen with more than one word on the screen and that by any measure is a yes to me.

Here’s the thing I really want to say: Don’t give up. Ever. Period.

Whether you keep a pile of rejection letters or not is up to you. Me, I’m shredding mine and moving on. To the good stuff like those plums I mentioned. Last weekend, I made a rustic plum and walnut tart with a few pounds of sweet Italian plums and a puckering sour jam spiked with red wine. Any sweet plum variety is a nice addition for the tart. Sour varieties are equally good with an additional heap of sugar.

plum and walnut tart

This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

“I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold”

So go make a tart or some wine-spiked jam and we’ll get to the vodka tastings next time. Oh, and don’t forget you’re invited to join the virtual zakuski party I’m hosting with Meeta this month.


Plum and Walnut Tart
Yield about 8 servings

for the Pastry:

1 2/3 cups white spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoon natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), cold
4 to 5 tablespoons ice-cold water

To make the pastry, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal, this will take 1 or 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the ice water and stir with a fork until the dough begins to form clumps. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Flatten into a disk. Let rest, refrigerated, for 1 hour or more.

for the filling:

2 1/2 pounds sweet plums (about 5 cups sliced)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
3 tablespoons white spelt flour
3/4 cup natural cane sugar (divided)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons orange zest
optional: glaze the fruit on the still warm tart with 1/4 cup of plum jam (I used my homemade wine-spiked jam)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Slice the plums into halves or quarters and discard the pits. Place the toasted walnuts, 3 tablespoons of flour, cardamom, orange zest, and 1/4 cup of sugar into a food processor and process into a fine meal.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a circle about 14 to 16 inches across. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the walnut mixture evenly around the circumference, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around. Lay the plums over the walnut mixture, and sprinkle them evenly with all but 1 teaspoon of the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.

Fold the dough borders over the plums. Sprinkle the dough with the remaining teaspoon of sugar. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the crust is golden brown on the bottom. Glaze the fruit while its still warm with plum jam (this is optional). Slide off the pan and cool on a rack.


  1. says

    Thank you for your post today. Lately, I’ve been going back and forth about the next steps for my writing–just can’t decide what’s ahead. When I came across your post it was the best time for someone to tell me to stick with it despite the odds. Many thanks!

  2. says

    What a gorgeous tart – I love the sound of the sweet and sour plums with toasted walnuts! Delicious! I will be trying this myself shortly. Thank you!

  3. says

    this tart looks amazing. and i enjoy your writings and your recipes immensely. :) i do the same thing…send in poems, short stories, articles, etc. no success yet, but who knows?

  4. says

    This post spoke to me today. And that poem – one of my all time favorites. There’s just something so simple and true about it. Thanks for the words of encouragement. Even though they weren’t meant just for me, they reached me as though they were. Oh, and the tart – gorgeous. I do love plums.

  5. says

    What a beautiful tart and post. Don’t ever give up…and I’m surprised you’re not published yet. Your pictures are a feast for the eyes and your posts are poetry…

  6. says

    What a classic delicious recipe – walnuts and plums are amongst my favourite snacks so frankly, the 2 together = an explosive bang 😀

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Strawberry Hot Fudge Choc-Cobbler


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