Spiced Plum Tart and some photos from… Stockholm

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Spiced Plum Tart and some photos from… Stockholm

Serves: 4
Cost: ~€3.20
Preparation time: ~40 minutes
Calories: ~500 per serving

Hi everyone! I’ve been rather busy this week and didn’t have a chance to make the things I wanted to make so as a result I’ll be posting something which I made some time ago but never got around to posting (mainly because I thought it didn’t look very nice), although the taste was fine. Sorry about the slightly less than exciting recipe, which is rather out of season now too (at least for those of us in the Northern hemisphere)! I hope I can redeem myself with some photos though. I promised you some photos in my last post… I would have posted them months ago, but my wife told me that it would be weird to post snowy, wintry pictures in the middle of summer, so I decided to wait until now. In February last year I decided it might be rather nice to go for a long weekend to Stockholm. We’ve been through there many times on the way up to the north of Sweden but I’ve barely ever even stepped outside the airport so I figured it was high time I check out the capital.

After reading a few reviews I found a rather pleasant hotel, right on the waterfront in Stockholm’s Gamla Stan, or “Old Town”, and right around the corner from the Royal Palace. This area of Stockholm itself dates back to the 13th century and has a great many very narrow, cobbled streets. While very popular with tourists by day, by night the place is very quiet – especially if you head away from the streets which have restaurants. Once off the beaten track, in the snowy darkness, it’s truly like stepping back in time. At the time we went there were a lot of intermittent snow showers, and at times the wind whipped up the narrow alleys, banking the snow up against the doorways, although you wouldn’t think it by looking at the photo below, with not a speck of snow in sight!

Gamla Stan

There are a a couple of beautiful churches in Gamla Stan, which sometimes seems surprising, considering how packed together everything is. There’s the Storkyrkan, or “Great Church” and there’s also the Tyska Kyrkan, or “German Church”. I would recommend a visit to both if you’re in the area, but especially the German Church for its fantastically beautiful interior and the vibrantly colourful stained glass windows.

The first night we were there we had a wonderful sukiyaki in a restaurant nearby before returning to the hotel which was a real delight. The hotel has a private sauna in each room and when the temperature outside minus crazy, and it’s wet and snowy, with a biting wind which seems to cut you to your very core there’s something incredibly decadent (not to mention warm, ooooh so warm) about going inside and jumping into your own welcoming, steamy sauna cabin, then robing up and whiling away the rest of the evening sitting down with a nice cup of coffee or tea. Our room was overlooking a quiet little alley and the only noise was the occasional thud of ice and snow falling off the roof, past our windows.

First Hotels Reisen Hotel room

On one of the days we headed up the hill on the island of Södermalm to the south to have a look about, and also to go in search of an incredible vegetarian restaurant. Wonderful, wonderful food, and not a chicken wing or steak in sight! The only problem? Instant coffee at the end of the meal. Ick, but aside from that, most excellent and very cheap (they aim for the student crowd I think, at least at lunchtime). Even if you’re a die-hard carnivore I wholeheartedly recommend this place for affordable, buffet-style meals – “Hermans” (Fjällgatan 23B, Stockholm).

There’s another beautiful, distinctive church at the top of Södermalm (Katarina kyrka) and I also managed to get a photo across the water showing Gamla Stan on the left and the island of Skeppsholmen on the right, although there was an “incident”, involving me clowning around and taking a bit of tumble on the ice on the sidewalk, narrowly avoiding smashing my camera to bits (just my behind instead – ouch!). Don’t let the almost “sun-kissed” buildings in the photo fool you – the temperature was well below zero and the wind was biting.

Gamla Stan and Skeppsholmen

On our last full day before leaving we went a bit further afield and took a trip to Skansen – an open-air museum on the island of Djurgården (in case it wasn’t obvious by now, Stockholm isn’t actually one single self-contained area, but is spread over 14 different islands around the mainland where most of the city is based). Now, it may be a bit nuts to visit an open-air museum in the middle of winter but no visit to Stockholm is complete without seeing Skansen and I’m glad we went. I ate, quite probably, the most delicious meal I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant – no word of a lie. Braised reindeer on a bed of roasted root vegetables, atop a great pool of creamed potatoes with a cream sauce, topped off with little wedges of baked apple, grated horseradish and watercress. I also ate some of the most incredible sourdough bread I’ve ever had (that didn’t last long enough for the photo, alas! :D).

Braised reindeer

The museum is fantastic – even in the middle of winter. Many of the buildings are closed, sadly, but there are still some which were open – an old hardware store (not a real one, obviously – a full-size exhibit of one) with a recreated owner’s house behind the store for example. We went into one beautifully warm place and found a guy blowing glass which was great fun to watch (I’ve always wanted to try that actually).

Glass-blowing at Skansen

Just outside the workshop and store there was a little pathway decked out with… Christmas trees? In February? Christmas decorations were stretched across the path as well, a cart, and many crates and barrels… I have to say, I was a little perplexed. Well, I had to wait until December 2011 but I found out what was up with all that. Each year, since 1960, on Swedish television they have a Christmas series in December for Children. Each episode is about 15 minutes long and is shown every morning from the 1st to the 24th. The show is called Julkalendarn, or “Advent Calendar”. The 2011 series was called The Thieves’ Christmas (Tjuvarnas jul) and guess where one of the filming locations was? Yep – Skansen! You can see the street in the intro to the show in this video if you’re interested.

Tjuvarnas Jul at Skansen

As nice as the museum was, the cold wind soon started making us yearn for a hot drink and a warm place to sit, so we managed to find a wonderfully quaint little coffee shop. Hot coffee and cake was the order of the hour!

Skansen coffee shop

The next day, we awoke to a blanket of white. I have to admit I was rather worried. The hotel restaurant has large windows which overlook the waterfront and I was sitting there watching the snow fall (of course, this didn’t ruin my appetite, and the breakfast in this hotel was incredibly good – cheeses, cold meats, breads, cereals, bacon, eggs, different natural yoghurts, fruits, sliced vegetables), but trust me… if they had this snow “all of a sudden” in Paris it would be the end of the world. Flights would be cancelled – you’d be looking at major inconvenience… I needn’t have worried though… the Swedes know how to handle a bit of snow and no last minute changes to our plans were necessary :D.

Arlanda

I really recommend a trip to Stockholm if you ever get the chance – especially Gamla Stan. It’s a truly beautiful city, with many interesting sights. I can’t begin to go into details here – I’ve waffled on for far too long already and I don’t want to send you all to sleep but if you’re ever “in the area” – do check it out :).

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. Enjoy the recipe. In my next entry I’ll either be posting something Swedish-ish, or revisiting something I’ve made before but a very long time ago, back in the day when I couldn’t take a good photo to save my life, so hopefully I can make it look halfway appetising now and make a few tweaks to my original recipe. See y’all soon!

Spiced Plum Tart

Ingredients

Spiced Plum Tart ingredients

  • ~15-20 Plums, depending on size, and size of tin
  • 40g Caster Sugar
  • 30g Butter
  • 2tsps Cinnamon
  • 1 pack of Shortcrust Pastry

Instructions

  1. Start off by preheating your oven to 220 degrees Celsius (or whatever else your pastry packet advises – I know it’s lazy to buy shortcrust pastry but it saves a fair bit of time!). Wash your plums and then cut them in half. Pop out the stone in the middle.
    Preparing the plums
  2. Heat the butter and sugar together in a pan to form a syrup and then transfer the plums into the pan. Stir well to coat in the syrup before sprinkling in the cinnamon. Stir well and then cook the plums until they’re just starting to soften and lose their shape slightly.
    Lightly stewing the plums in their juice with sugar
  3. Line a suitably sized, shallow tin with your pastry and transfer the plums into the tin. Pour in the syrup and then bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or as per your pastry packet instructions. Note that some pastries may require blind-baking beforehand so factor this in while you prepare the plums if necessary. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before enjoying! Unless the the plums are very sweet you will find the dish quite tart, so serve with something creamy and sweet (aaah, ice-cream!) for best results!
    Spiced Plum Tart



    Spiced Plum Tart

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63 Comments

  1. Looks so yum! Thanks for sharing beautiful photos!

    Reply
    • Thanks Chami – I hope everything is well with you :)

      Reply
  2. This post has totally made my day! I love Stockholm and you have made me relive being there! I want to eat that braised reindeer right now…I am green with jealousy! I am planning a trip back in the spring and I would love to know which hotel you stayed in. It sounds lovely. Skansen is an absolute must do when visiting….Stockholm is so beautiful and it is not given enough praise. Anyone who visits will love it. Thanks for sharing. You have made me smile.

    Reply
    • Hi Anneli – the hotel we stayed out was the Hotel Reisen, by First Hotels. You can access their page directly here: http://www.firsthotels.com/en/Our-hotels/Sweden/Stockholm/First-Hotel-Reisen/

      Originally I booked a regular room with a view over the water, but when we checked in, they asked if we wanted to buy an upgrade for €40 extra a night – much bigger room and private sauna! I really recommend the upgrade! :)

      Reply
  3. Nice photos. I love reindeer too, its awesome meat. Reindeer with mushrooms is a great combo

    Reply
    • It’s so good, isn’t it? I can’t get it here… I bought a reindeer lasagna from IKEA once but that’s about the extent of it, haha :D

      Reply
  4. Totally gorgeous photos Charles and they definitely make me want to visit even with your compliments on the weather! It reminds me of a visit to Montreal in February a few years ago with your comment on the ‘minus crazy’ temperatures. Even though Montreal is only a few hundred kilometres away, their winters are way worse than ours!
    The tart looks fantastic; the plums caramelized perfectly.

    Reply
    • Thank you Eva – in summer, the weather in Stockholm is generally very fine, so you would definitely enjoy it then, during the more clement months :) When we were walking from the train station to the hotel we were sliding down a little hill which was completely covered in a very thin, very hard layer of pure ice, haha – that was fun times :)

      Reply
  5. It’s cold and windy outside so the pictures were quite timely.

    As to the tart, I’m sure it was very tasty and some whipping cream, icing sugar, fresh berries and a sprig of mint will dress it up for the next time. :)

    My posts have been pretty dull and boring lately. After all, a peanut butter and ham sandwich. What’s that all about, eh? :)

    Reply
    • Hi A_ – same here… really chilly these days… down to 3 degrees in the mornings – eek!

      Reply
  6. I really enjoyed your pictures and narration about stockholm Charles. I love cities that have character, that still retain their ancient charm

    Reply
    • Hi Sawsan – Me too! I think it’s why I’ve never been a huge fan of London. Of course, some parts are lovely, but so much was destroyed or damaged during the second World War and rebuilt and now there are some really ugly buildings there, unlike in other cities which are very original in their architecture and styles.

      Reply
  7. I loved this post, Charles. So beautiful. I’ve never been to Sweden but you make me want to board a plan right away. Sp picturesque. I hope your backside is fully recovered and well done to save your camera. xx

    Reply
    • Thanks Charlie – I hope you get a chance to visit some day. Of course, I think I prefer the north, since I’ve been there the most, but Stockholm is a beautiful city!

      Reply
  8. I’m going to Stockholm week after next so I must check out these places and I want to eat at Hermans. I’m really excited as I’ve never been and have always wanted to go and finally have my chance! Love the tart too.

    Reply
    • Hi BA – I hope you get a chance to go to Hermans – it was such a cool place! Wonderful food (though shame about the instant coffee at the end of the meal!).

      Reply
  9. I’d like a wedge of your tart with my afternoon tea! Beautiful photos of Stockholm – I’ve never been but it looks worth a trip!

    Reply
    • Hi Laura, it’s a really lovely city, and the food I had there was so good! Especially the reindeer, hehe :)

      Reply
  10. I’ve never been to Stockholm but would love to go. I had a young man from Sweden stay with me for a summer as an exchange student and I loved him and his Norwegian friends (I had 3 all summer) so much I invited them back for a Florida Christmas. I learned to say Merry Christmas and Mickey Mouse in Swedish. I should be ashamed. :)

    I learned that Swedish breakfast is nothing like an American breakfast and American bread is “shit.” LOL

    Imagine how pleased they would have been if I had made this plum tart? Yum.

    Reply
    • Hi Maureen – I hope you get a chance to go some day! It’s such a beautiful city; well, the whole country is lovely to be honest. I remember when I first got together with my wife… I was very used to sweet breakfasts… sweet cereal, toast with jam etc. Of course we have big, fat, greasy breakfasts in England too, but day-to-day breakfasts are quite sweet still. When my wife told me about Swedish breakfasts… an open-sandwich with cheese and slices of something like cucumber I was… aghast at first (seems more like a lunch!) but now I love it. It’s the perfect start to a day for me :D

      Reply
      • Imagine those 3 18 year old boys seeing their first American breakfast. One of them was brave enough to say, “I can’t eat this for breakfast – this is dessert.” :) I found that it didn’t matter how much bread or sliced meat I bought, they could eat it all for breakfast. …and I bought a lot!

        Reply
  11. Charles, this post really made me: a) miss my time in Stockholm, and b) want to buy a ticket right now and go there again… Don’t you love those little coffee shops that serve coffee in a real cups, where you sit and watch either people outside, or a snow, or calming swings of the waterfront?! Lovely post, thanks for taking me there. And may I have a piece of your tart, please?! :)

    Reply
    • Hi Marina, I had one of the biggest surprises because I *love* coffee, and in a restaurant, I always finish my meal with a cup of coffee. On the first night in Stockholm we went to the Japanese place and had sukiyaki and after, when I got my coffee….. I’d completely forgotten that these silly little espressos aren’t so common in Sweden… and I got a big cup of hot, delicious filter coffee. I was so happy. It was one of the nicest coffees I’d had in so long because it was such a wonderful surprise :D

      I miss coffee shops in general though. They don’t really have coffee shop culture in France. Sure, they have the occasional place, and brasseries, and Starbucks, but not really anything like a little place where you can sit and have a coffee and a small sandwich, soup or a cake and enjoy yourself!

      Reply
      • Something makes that Swedish coffee taste so heavenly good! Even here, IKEA sells Swedish coffee that tastes much better than some regular coffee shops. Their coffee is definitely seasoned with… love! :)

        Reply
  12. Poor Rudolf … :(
    Everything looks so fairytale-like. I love the stained glass windows! And I am enjoying the looks of the plum tart … such a simple yet delicious dessert. I fully agree on the ice cream go with.

    Reply
    • LOL! Delicious Rudolf! Elk is a great meat too… I wish reindeer and elk were common meats in France :( I think it must be almost impossible to buy them here.

      Aren’t the stained glass windows incredible? So pretty!

      Reply
  13. Your plum tart is beautiful Charles. How pretty would that look on a Thanksgiving table! I imagine it’s quite tasty too. I haven’t had much experience with plums. They are another fruit I;ll have to give a go.

    Thanks for the pictures of Stockholm. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen any before. It is quite pretty and quaint. I love cobblestone streets and those lamp posts complete the scene. Another place to put on my list!

    Reply
    • Thanks Kristy – it’s a really pretty city. On the last night there it was snowing SO hard and we were walking around the tiny little narrow, cobbled streets in the Old Town area. There was no-one around, there were a few lights in some old-fashioned store-fronts, and it was really like being back in 1920 or something. Such an incredible atmosphere!

      Reply
  14. What a nice surprise to see Stokholm photos! Stockholm is one of the European cities I dream of visiting, so I have admired your photos and descriptions with eyes wide open. Your post confirms that Stockholm is definitely worth visiting (but maybe not in winter ;-) ). Thank you for sharing the visiting tips!
    The plum tart looks delicious and simple, just the way I like fruit tarts. I have never baked with these plums (I only bake with the violet damsons or similar oval plums) and never added cinnamon either. I will remember your recipe next year.

    Reply
    • Hi Sissi – it’s really pretty in Winter. Blisteringly cold at times, but so lovely (especially if you have a hotel with a sauna!). All the waterways between the islands are completely frozen and everything has a very distinctive atmosphere!

      Reply
  15. Heehee, I had to smile when I got to the part about the sprinkle of snow paralyzing Paris… I have never been to Stockholm but have dreamt of it… the islands, the water, the gorgeous connecting bridges… and, most of all, Daniel Alfredsson’s birth place ;-). Loved your photos Charles and that coffee shop has a wonderful warmth and nostalgia to it; so cozy. I’m always happy to see what you’re doing with tarts, so there’s no disappointment here! (I see plump golden raisins working well in there too – yummm). Can’t remember whether I’ve mentioned this before but I love your utensils Charles – there so cool looking – solid but sleek.

    Reply
    • Hi Kelly, I had to look up Daniel Alfredsson… ok, hockey – lol, shows how much I know :D

      In one corner of that coffee-shop there was a big round table, decked out with a great array of cakes and cookies you could choose from. So much nom!

      Do you remember that tart you made a while back with star anise in it? I made another tart similar to this later where I simmered up star anise, orange juice, butter and sugar and made a wonderful syrup, which I poured over the tart before baking. That one was even better but sadly I didn’t photograph it at all :( Oh well…

      Reply
  16. Oh Charles, how I’d like to go for a coffee in that quaint little cafe/shop. Your photos are just amazing and certainly make me want to hop on a plane for a Scandanavian adventure! The tart looks lovely too (really!).

    Reply
    • Thanks Barb, you’re too kind about the tart. It was ok… a bit “tart”, haha, but not bad :)

      Reply
  17. Charles, thank you for sharing your wonderful trip to Stockholm!! Love the pictures! Look like you went to some really interesting places and ate some great food. Oh my – I love sukiyaki but haven’t had it in years! Now I’m craving for it. I think I would eat those plums right from the pan! Definitely would have to cook up twice the amount so I could eat some and then have some for this delicious tart!

    Reply
    • Hi MJ – just talking about it is actually making me want to eat sukiyaki again, haha. Mm, I must aim to go to the Japanese supermarket again soon to pick up some ingredients so I can make one!

      Reply
  18. I love that tart!! I missed our plums when they were here.. just ate tons of them and forgot to bake. So this makes up for it:) I loved Sweden when I was there.. the names made me think I was in Ikea, lol. The beauty is something else, even the people are beautiful! We were on a hockey trip so stayed in a small town called Kungsbacka (sp?) and hopped on the train to get around. I loved it there!!

    Reply
    • Hi Barbara, I never seem to get lucky with plums… They go from being like little rocks here to being dry, or just never being really sweet. I think I could count the number of “amazing” plums I’ve had in my life on my fingers, sadly.

      Did you know, IKEA actually has a specific naming system in place for naming their furniture (although there are a few exceptions). I’d always thought it was just “random”, but it’s very clever. You can read about it here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IKEA#Product_names

      Reply
  19. My best friend in college studied abroad in Sweden and she really enjoyed there. Since I hear so many great things about it I always wanted to visit one day. Thanks for sharing some pictures. You made me smile when you said you had Sukiyaki… lol! I enjoyed your previous tart and I bet I’d enjoy this one too! By the way, I finally found a pie sheet with round shape! But it will cost like double price. LOL.

    Reply
    • Hi Nami – can you remember where you friend studied? Was she just in Stockholm, or did she get a chance to see other places in the country? Glad you liked the photos – I hope you get a chance to see it in “real life” some day :)

      Reply
  20. Your plums are beautiful, and this would be such a great addition to the Thanksgiving table—thank you for taking us with you to Stockholm, I feel a bit of me was there experiencing it with you =)

    Reply
    • Thanks Angie – you’re too kind :)

      Reply
  21. Whatever you are saying, the tart looks fantastic! ;)

    I always associate Stockholm with cold, snow, hot chocolates, pullover and ski jumping. The latter one because my cousin has been there many times for the euro cup. I myself would never think of making a trip there, don’t misunderstand me its gorgeous and I am especially intrigued by the history and the architecture, but its simply too cold. Only if my husband would be interested or if its summer then I d go there. I can’t help it, the cold kills me. O.O

    Did you blow some glass? Love doing that, its quite tricky some times. You should have put a picture in of you blowing glass. =D

    Reply
    • Hi Helene, I actually love the cold. Of course, cold is cold… it’s important to wear some warm clothes, but I think winter is my favourite time of year to be honest.

      Sadly I didn’t blow any glass – I’d love to… this place was like a museum-only though… you could only watch. Perhaps one day I can find a place where I’ll be able to do it!

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  22. The photo’s are beautiful! And rather odd, I have some plums battering around here…seemed a little late to me too, but they’re rather nice. Only I’ve had enough of raw plums, so shall try your tart!

    Reply
    • Thank you Veronica – If you do give it a try I really recommend some ice-cream. The tart is very simple by itself and is really transformed with the addition of something creamy :). Thanks for stopping by! :)

      Reply
  23. What??? You have no time??? Just kidding! Well, at least you are more consistent than I when it comes to posting…….and more creative too! :) Wait until you have more little ones ;) This looks so delish, I could eat this in one sitting!
    Stockholm, looks so beautiful. Enjoy reading about your traveling adventures! :)

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa – not so healthy though… wait until you see my next couple of posts coming up in a few days. Oh boy!!

      Glad you enjoyed the photos, it’s such a pretty city :)

      Reply
  24. I love your photos! they make me want to go on a holiday now. school’s been tiring. ah, what I would give to go on a break ight now. or for some spiced plum tart…

    Reply
    • Thanks Shuhan – how long of school left for you now? Is it your final year?

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      • yep, final year :( how time lies eh? ive got till next summer!

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  25. I haven’t been to Stockholm in years…now you are inspiring me with your travel suggestions and I’ve only unpacked my bags.

    Reply
    • Hi Karen – somewhere to visit again on your next Europe trip perhaps? :D

      Reply
      • Oh Charles, it is tempting…but France has been calling my name again. Your adopted country’s food is constantly on my mind along with all the charming little villages that I love so much. Then again I have a friend in Italy (Tuscany) that wants me to come back for a visit. No telling where I will end up.

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  26. I am sorry to hear about your fall and I hope you are well on recovery. Sweden is such a beautiful place from the lens of your camera. I love the yellow plums in your tart. I have not seen yellow ones before in Asia… hmm… Do they have the same flavor as the purple ones?

    Reply
    • Hi Bam, The flavour is pretty much the same… not quite as … hmm, trying to think of the word… “rich” I guess. It’s a slightly lighter flavour, but very delicious if you can get nice, ripe ones!

      Reply
  27. That tart looks scrummy, Charles! And the photos of Sweden – lovely. I especially like the one of the charming coffee shop.

    Reply
    • Thanks Jean – it was a lovely little coffee-shop. I love places like that… so quiet and relaxing.

      Reply
  28. Wow,
    Gorgeous pictures. Hopefully, I can visit it someday. The tart looks incredible!

    Reply