This tart is a flat tart. It requires no tart pan and no blind baking. You don’t fold the edges as in a galette. There’s no lattice-work or fluted rims as in a pie. In fact, this flat tart has no rim at all. The pastry simply lays flat on a baking sheet. It’s as stress-free as baking gets and it’s a pretty tart too. The discs of fruit are laid out in concentric circles. Some people call this arrangement a pinwheel tart. I’ve made similar versions with apples and berries. Sometimes I’ve called these tarts “fruit pizza”. But the term “pizza” confuses the SEO gods, so I prefer “flat tart”. Yellow Plum Flat Tart with Almond Meringue.
I intended this flat tart to be a pluot flat tart. I intended to make and eat this flat tart on a Sunday afternoon. If I bake I usually bake on a Sunday.
But I did not make this Yellow Plum Tart with Almond Meringue on a Sunday. I made it on a Saturday, and I posted it on a Sunday. But, (and this is the important part) I shopped for it on a Friday. The reason that’s relevant is because had I shopped for it on a Sunday I would have gone to the Hollywood Farmers’ Market and bought pluots instead of yellow plums for sure. I’ve had my eye on an Amelia Saltsman Pluot Pinwheel Tart recipe from Bon Appétit for some time now (7 years!). However, had I stuck with my Sunday shopping routine I’d never have learned the tale of the illegal yellow plum.
Illegal Yellow Plums
That’s right. Plums can be illegal. Well, yellow plums. In fact, yellow plums are banned in all 50 states in America. Making yellow plums more tightly regulated than raw milk or marijuana!
If yellow plums are illegal how the heck did I find them at a large-scale chain grocery store in full view of law enforcement officers? Does this Yellow Plum Flat Tart make me some sort of fugitive? Should we scream “lock her up” when we see the produce manager who sold me the supposedly illicit plums? More importantly, why are yellow plums illegal? Is there some kind of recall? Are they hallucinogenic, or worse carcinogenic?
Nope, the answer lies somewhere in the legalese of lawyerly gobbledygook. Yellow plums are a protected-origin fruit. Specifically, yellow plums that bear the name “Mirabelle de Lorraine”. These tiny, delicious plums are only grown in Lorraine, France, and, thanks to import laws, they can only be grown in Lorraine, France. I guess U.S. legislators aren’t willing to stipulate the designation, so that means even the import of yellow “Mirabelle de Lorraine” plums is illegal.
For me, it all started at Ralph’s grocery store on Ventura Blvd in Studio City, California. Nowhere near Lorraine, France. I went in because I recalled seeing beautiful yellow stone fruit there. To my way of thinking if you find it in a grocery store and it isn’t a plum, or a peach, or a nectarine then it’s most probably a pluot. After all, apriums are just too weird for Ralph’s grocery store. Whole Foods, maybe, Ralph’s no.
So I went to the checkout and proudly handed over my bright yellow fruit to the cashier. He looked at them and asked, “what are these?”
I love it when clerks ask me to tell them how to do their job. So I smugly answered, “pluots”.
“Pluots?” he said as he pulled out his little reference guide (flip, flip, flip). He could not find pluots listed anywhere. He charged me for apricots and obviously couldn’t be bothered to make the distinction. There was line forming and I can get shy around strangers so I let it go at “apricots”.
But I didn’t let it go for long. When I got home I googled pluot and soon discovered my golden fruit was certainly not a pluot. Pluots are speckled and have gradations of red and purple. Next, I googled Aprium. Nope.
That’s when I punched in the words “yellow stone fruit” and learned the tale of the illegal yellow plum.
So how did illegal yellow plums end up at a grocery store without proper identification? Well, my guess is if they’re grown in California, and if they refuse to call them “Mirabelle de Lorraine”, they can sell all the yellow plums they like. All I can say is they make a heck of a sweet flat tart. GREG