Jeûne Genevois Tarte aux Pruneaux (“Plum Tart”)

6 Sep

Yesterday we celebrated Geneva’s very own public holiday, Jeûne Genevois or Geneva Fast.

The website of the Republic and Canton of Geneva says the Jeûne Genevois holiday began in 1567 in remembrance of the repression against Protestants in Lyon, France. This patriotic as well as religious significance of fasting in Geneva lasted during the first half of the nineteenth century when a federal Fasting was established in 1832. The Protestants of Geneva were offended at the time of this ecumenical decision and decided to establish a Geneva Fasting. The Act of January 8, 1966 declared holiday on the day of fasting Geneva, celebrated on the Thursday following the first Sunday in September. It has gradually lost its religious significance and certainly most Genevans do not fast on this day. But was it ever really a day of fasting?

Enter the Tarte aux Pruneaux or Plum Tart in English. Historically, pies were a frugal meal so in order to allow women and servants to participate in the fasting and praying of the day, the pies were prepared and cooked the day before and was the only snack of the day. Nowadays, these pies are often the dessert for a festive meal. Why plums, you ask? They’re in season of course! In every supermarket, bakery and patisserie in Geneva you can buy a plum tart to celebrate this occasion or you can buy the ingredients and make one yourself, like me.

Eating fruit and vegetables according to the seasons has become a way of life in Geneva simply because we cannot buy everything all year round like you can in Australia. Plums are plentiful this time of year, obviously, but the introduction of these yummy fruits prompt the decline in freshness and availability of other summer fruits and berries. Not to worry, because plums are a very good source of vitamin C. They are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and dietary fiber. Basically, they’re good for you.

I scoured a few recipes for inspiration (like this one from Eye Candy Popper) but eventually went with my own version because I didn’t want to any added sugar. Never having made one before, I was rather chuffed with how it turned out. I leave you and your forks to this pleasant pastry.

Une Tarte aux Pruneaux pour le Jeûne Genevois


Pastry (store bought, sorry!)
1kg of Plums*
250mL of Cream
2 Eggs
1/2 cup of Ground Almonds


Step 1

Step 1 : Prepare Base

Step 1 : Prepare Base

Line your tart tin with your choice of pastry. I used a short-crust butter pastry but you can make your own favourite dessert pastry.

Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork and sprinkle with a little of the ground almonds (or flour).

The plums are quite juicy so the almonds or flour will prevent the base from going soggy. You could also use crushed almond biscuits.

Step 2

Step 2 : Arrange Plums

Step 2 : Arrange Plums

Cut the plums in half. Remove the stone. Cut in half again.

Arrange the plum pieces in any way that suits you.

*NOTE: You will need approximately 15-20 plums for a 23cm tin and for the plums to be tightly packed.

Step 3

Step 3 : Add Custard

Step 3 : Add Custard

Mix together the cream, eggs and remaining ground almonds.

This is a very basic custard filling so feel free to use your own delicious version. Also note that this quantity was sufficient for a 23cm tin with the plums tightly packed. You may need more quantity is your tin is larger or you have more space between the plums.

Step 4

Step 4 : Bake

Step 4 : Bake

Bake in a moderately hot oven (180-200 degrees C) for 20-30 minutes or until the custard is set and the plums are cooked.

Step 5

Step 5 : Serve

Step 5 : Serve

Serve cold with a little cream or ice cream.

Bon appetit!

5 Responses to “Jeûne Genevois Tarte aux Pruneaux (“Plum Tart”)”

  1. Jay Bee September 6, 2013 at 10:56 #

    Ooh… this looks really good! Is it not too sour without any sugar added? I made a plum galette recently and my-oh-my was it sour! Perhaps I’ll mix some honey or sugar into the cream and eggs mix here, because I’d really like to give it a try! Thanks for the recipe and the historical background!

    • cheesevegemite September 6, 2013 at 10:59 #

      Thanks Jay Bee! Yes it was a little sour but that’s the way my husband likes it plus we try to limit our sugar intake 🙂 Most recipes I read ask for a few tablespoons of sugar sprinkled on top. You could also use cinnamon sugar for a little extra spice.

      • Jay Bee September 6, 2013 at 11:32 #

        Thank you! Perhaps I’ll try one tablespoon, as I’m also wary of sugar… 🙂

    • EyeCandyPopper September 6, 2013 at 14:06 #

      Just a couple of Tbsp of sugar (including the dough) goes a long way in this recipe, as the plums add to the sweetness while cooking 🙂

  2. EyeCandyPopper September 6, 2013 at 14:07 #

    Thanks for mentioning my recipe in your post! 🙂

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