The Old Mirabelle Plum Tree:
Spiced Mirabelle Plum Galette Recipe
At the bottom left of my French garden there is a beautiful old Mirabelle tree; it was here when we bought the house and every year it gives us kilos and kilos of gorgeous yellow and rosy pink fruit. Diminutive in size it may be compared to the showy fig tree next to it, and it’s certainty not as tall as my quince tree, however, it is one of my favourite trees in the garden. It’s not a pretty tree, several owners previous to us have pruned it in a peculiar fashion, so it now leans to one side and looks like a crooked old man, but what it lacks in horticultural beauty is more than made up in its annual bounty of fruit – and for three to four weeks a year, we lean an old wooden ladder up into it’s canopy as it yields it golden treasure…….and we pick, pick and pick baskets of small, sweet plums.
Mirabelle plums are the least showy of all the plum family; not big and blousy like the Victoria plum or with a deep, dusky colour as damsons are – they are small with a mottled golden-yellow to dusky rose-coloured skin. But, they are naturally sweet and can be eaten straight from the tree, and the stone is prised out with ease, unlike the greengage which doesn’t give up its stone with ease! They are very versatile and can be scoffed greedily as they are being picked, au natural, as well as being made into jam, chutney, pies, tarts or being poached. Today’s recipe is for a simple and deliciously seasonal tart, Spiced Mirabelle Plum Galette, which is as easy as pie to make! I have been on a bit of a galette making fest lately, I find them better than a double crust pie for certain fruits – as they have less pastry and being a one crust free-shape tart, you can rustle one up in minutes.
Although Mirabelles grow in the UK, the fruit is very popular in France (where it originally originated from Asia Minor) where they are called Mirabelle de Lorraine; they are a speciality of the French region of Lorraine, which has an ideal climate and soil composition for the cultivation of this fruit. There are two main cultivars grown for fruit production, derived from cherry plums grown in Nancy and Metz. The Metz type is smaller, less hard, and less sweet, and has no small red spots on the skin. It is very good for jam, while the Nancy type is better as fresh fruit as it is sweeter. The city of Metz dedicates two weeks to the Mirabelle plum during the popular Mirabelle Festival held in August. During the festival, in addition to open markets selling fresh prunes, mirabelle tarts, and mirabelle liquor, there is live music, fireworks, parties, art exhibits, a parade with floral floats and competition, and the crowning of the Mirabelle Queen and a gala of celebration. In England, mirabelles grow both wild and cultivated in Essex, and there are yellow, orange and red varieties in Mayland, Essex. The Metz variety grows wild in Suffolk at Leathes’ Ham, near Oulton Broad. (Some information taken from Wikipedia)
My recipe for this Spiced Mirabelle Plum Galette is below, but, you can also make this tart (galette) with damsons, greengages and Victoria plums too. I am entering this recipe into Laura and Nazima’s monthly One Ingredient challenge, as the theme this month is PLUMS. That’s all for today, have a GREAT weekend, and I will be back soon with more recipes as well as some travel news, as I am popping down to the Basque Country for a long weekend break! See you later, Karen