I miss plums. And they seem so far away. In these first weeks of spring, I can hardly remember what those late summer days feel like, when you gorge yourself on juicy stone fruits, like peaches and apricots and nectarines.
But it's plums I'm really longing for right now. Especially the ones you eat when perfectly ripe, that stop you in your tracks because they taste so good. I miss the dusky bloom that covers their purple skin. I miss sinking my teeth into one, piercing its tough bitter skin, before tasting the jellylike flesh of honey and nectar. And then, the sweet juice running down my chin and leaving a purple stain on my shirt. I miss bowls filled with plums on the kitchen bench, alongside other summer pals like apricots and peaches. I miss the tiny yellow plums, middle sized green ones, oval purple ones and the whopping big black ones. I miss the almond scent of their glossy leaves, and cracking the stones to get to the bitter nutty kernel. I miss their colours too, the sunny yellows, the bright greens, and the dark mysterious speckled purple plums.
I miss friends dropping off brown paper bags filled with plums, and roadside stalls selling buckets for a dollar. I miss baking plum cakes, making plum jam and I miss that container in the fridge filled with roasted vanilla plums that we serve with a dollop of cold creamy yoghurt.
Of course, right now I wouldn't want to eat a fresh plum. That wouldn't feel right. It's early spring, and there are no plums. And it's really nice to miss things.
But what I do have in the back of the fridge is a huge jar of greengage jam. Those heavenly honey flavoured queen of the plums. Time for a greengage jam tart I think, to tide me over until the plums arrive late summer. I can hardly wait.
I used this easy recipe to bake this tart, but swapped the white sugar for rapadura, the polenta with rice flour and added vanilla bean to the pastry. Then sprinkled some flaked almonds on top.