Plum Kuchen

1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 tsp freshly grated orange zest or 1 drop Boyajian orange oil
(no I have no clue what that is - I had neither so used orange flower water)
1/4 cup milk

The Fruit and Topping
10 to 12 plums
2 tbspunsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom or cinnamon, optional


Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly butter an 8-cup gratin dish or tart pan (pie plate!). Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, then cut in the butter to make fine crumbs. Beat the egg and egg yolk with the flavorings, then add enough milk to make 1/2 cup liquid. Add the liquid to the flour, mixing enough to make a thick dough. Brush your hands with flour, then pat the dough into the baking dish, pushing it up a little around the edges to make a rim.

Slice Italian plums in half. If they're small, leave them in halves; otherwise quarter them. If you're using round plums, such as Elephant Heart, slice them into wedges about 1/2 inch thick. Overlap them over the dough. You can really
crowd them together because they'll collapse while cooking.

Drizzle the melted butter over the fruit, then sprinkle on the sugar and cardamom, if using. Bake until the crust is golden and the fruit is soft, 35 to 45 minutes.

Serve warm if possible. Serve with softly whipped cream, maybe flavored with a little orange flower water or creme de noyaux, a liqueur made from the kernels of stone fruits.

-Jacques Pepin