SEASONAL food is when food is at its very best: not only delicious, but also found in abundance. At this time of year, we see a plentiful supply of plums – signalling the moment when summer turns to autumn – and their sweet flavour adds something unique to numerous puddings and savoury dishes, including cobblers, crumbles, cakes, pies, chutneys, jams and compotes.

Plums come in lots of colours and varieties, but the Victoria plum – a classic British fruit that used to be grown in south-facing Victorian walled gardens – is one of my all-time favourites. They’re grown here in Scotland and across the UK, so they’re very inexpensive. This also means you don’t have to leave them on your worktop for a week to ripen; they’re perfect as they are and ready to enjoy.

They’re very durable and easy to grow – traditionally they’d be trained up the side of a wall – which made them an ideal choice in country house kitchen gardens, where the Cook could pick them and use them straight away.

Its flesh cooks very well and holds its substance during cooking, making them perfect for baking. Its initial flavour is sweet, and then you’re hit with a slightly tart note at the back, but it’s much less acidic than its autumnal fruit cousins, apples and blackberries.

Plum and almond tart is a timeless classic. The sweetness of the plums and the floral tones of the almond complement each other wonderfully, and this recipe gives it a bit of a modern twist with the addition of marzipan, for a fuller and deeper flavour.

In France, they love a plum and almond tart for breakfast, but here it’s more traditional for dessert, and it goes wonderfully with custard, vanilla ice-cream or crème anglaise. The great thing about this recipe is its versatility – you can serve it after supper, or just make it and cut yourself a slice when you want it with a cup of tea.

We serve this plum tart in our Garden Café, where we offer a range of freshly-prepared cakes, tarts, pastries, sweet treats and traditional bakes each day. Traditional baking will also be the focus of our Lady Claire Macdonald Afternoon Tea at Gleneagles from 12 November – 18 November, inspired by the recipes of celebrated chef, food writer and owner of the Michelin-starred Kinloch Lodge. To find out more and book your table, visit

Victoria Plum and Almond Tart

Makes one tart


For the sweet pastry:

180g unsalted butter

110g icing sugar

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

35g ground almonds

½ tsp salt

300g plain flour

For the almond cream:

75g unsalted butter

75g caster sugar

75g ground almond

75g whole egg

30g plain flour

½ tsp salt

For the tart:

150g marzipan

7x Victoria plums, halved and stones removed

100g apricot jam

40g flaked almonds


1. First, make the sweet pastry. In an electric stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and cream the butter with 75g of icing sugar. Add the egg and egg yolk slowly, making sure everything is fully combined. Add the remaining icing sugar, ground almonds, salt and flour and continue to mix until it forms a dough. Cover the dough and allow to rest in the fridge 2 to 3 hours. After resting, roll the dough out to 3.5mm and line an 11” tart ring. Put the tart case back into the fridge for later.

2. Next, make the almond cream. In an electric stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg slowly, making sure you emulsify them completely. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well to form the almond cream and set aside.

3. To assemble the tart, first preheat the oven to 175°C. Roll out the marzipan to approximately 2mm. Cut it into a disc just smaller than the base of the tart and lay it inside the tart ring. Spread an even layer of almond cream on top of the marzipan, making sure you leave a gap of about 5mm from the top of the tart case. Arrange the plums randomly over the top of the almond cream and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

4. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the tart is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Heat the apricot jam in a small pan with a splash of water. Use the jam to glaze the entire surface of the tart. Enjoy the tart warm with ice cream or custard or leave to cool for the perfect afternoon treat with a cup of tea.