The philosophy at Forage Restaurant in Silver Lake is simple: Chef Jason Kim looks for the best locally grown produce and ingredients he can find, but it's not just from farms and farmers' markets. They also use produce donated by home-growers in the community. In short, you.
Since opening in early 2010, Kim and his crew have accepted everything from citrus and avocados to kale, mustard greens and lettuce from neighbors who want to give their backyard bounty a good home. In the Forage kitchen, it all gets turned into seasonal dishes like grilled yellowtail with spring onions; summer succotash salad; lime-scented cream corn; and wonderful berry tarts and pies that the rest of us get to enjoy.
Why would people bring in their avocados, onions and greens from their garden? For one, they don't want to go to waste. And then there's the glory: Those who donate produce, get a dish named after them on the menu.
Not everything comes from local backyards, however. Pastry chef Kristin Ferguson is all about stone fruit right now, especially plums from Fitzgerald Farms which she turns into a dynamite tart with almond filling. It's simply perfect. At home, you can use any stone fruit, like apricots, cherries, pluots, and even whole pitted bing cherries--all relatives of the almond, which is why the flavors work so well together.
The trick is placing the fruit skin-side down so the halves act like little cups. "Plums are so juicy, so it helps keep the juices from gushing out and sogging up everything else," says Ferguson.
Get the whipped cream ready. Here's the recipe:
Forage's Plum Tart
Recipe adapted from Kristin Ferguson
Makes 1 tart
For the filling:
- 8 ounces almond paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 ounces butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons flour
1. In a mixing bowl on medium speed, cream together the almond paste and sugar, and then add the butter and cream until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together and slowly add to the almond mixture, stopping periodically to ensure the egg is absorbed before adding more. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Chill until ready to use. This recipe makes enough for several tarts, but it keeps well, covered in the refrigerator.
For the tart:
- 1 pound puff pastry (if store-bought, thawed)
- About 10 to 15 ripe plums, pitted and halved
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthways and scraped
- Sugar for sprinkling
- 1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Roll the pastry into a large circle about 3/16-inch thick. Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill for 10 minutes or until firm.
2. Remove from refrigerator and smear about ¾ cup of frangipane over the center of the dough, leaving a 1 ½-inch border around the edge. Brush the border with egg wash. Lay the plums down in concentric circles over the frangipane. Sprinkle with sugar.
3. Heat the honey with the vanilla bean seeds and pod until warm and fluid. Brush the apricots with the vanilla honey. Fold the edges of the pastry up around the filling, pressing the folds together firmly so they don't splay apart during baking. Brush the edges with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and place the tart in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up.
4. Bake the pastry until approximately 30 minutes, or until it turns a deep golden brown. Remove from oven and brush the plums with the rest of the honey mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Click here for more on Forage's foraging program.