The other day, I saw ripe yellow plums on display at my local fruit and vegetable market, and couldn’t resist buying a whole bag of them. Every summer, the shop’s owner picks up fresh produce from farms just outside New York, and the plums were among the crops that had recently been harvested. It was a hot, humid day, so the idea of incorporating the fruit into a chilled dessert came to mind. I remembered a refreshing dessert I had eaten at Hummus Place, an Israeli restaurant in New York. Served cold, it featured layers of ricotta, date syrup, halva, and kataifi – strands of shredded phylo dough popular in Greek and Middle Eastern desserts. Using this delicious treat loosely as inspiration, I created a square-shaped tart with a date almond crust, fresh plum topping in place of the halva, and a thin layer of Greek yogurt whisked with honey (I originally tried to incorporate ricotta, but the texture was too grainy.) Feel free to try substituting date syrup for honey, if available.
Yogurt Plum Squares with Date Almond Crust
Date Almond Crust
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup dates
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened at room temperature and cut into pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey or date syrup
Pinch of sea salt
4-5 ripe plums, sliced
Toasted almond slices for garnishing
Prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 375 °F. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper. Place almonds, dates, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until finely ground. Add flour and butter. Process until just combined. Press mixture into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake for around 15 minutes, until edges turn crisp and golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the yogurt mixture: Combine Greek yogurt, honey, and sea salt in a small mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth.
Assemble: Spread yogurt mixture evenly over the crust. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Arrange fresh plum slices on top, leaving slight gaps so the yogurt layer shows through. Sprinkle with toasted, sliced almonds. Cut into squares for serving. To store, wrap in tinfoil or place in airtight container and refrigerate.