Friday, September 10, 2010

I Picked a Peck of Purple Plums

How many is a peck?  I don't know, but I probably didn't pick that many.  I did pick a lot, though, from the tree in my yard.  Fun aside: my husband and I planted this tree about five years ago.  We bought it in late fall from a garden store that was going out of business.  It had no leaves at the time and we endured months of teasing from my mother-in-law about the "dead stick" planted in our front yard.  It just goes to show that sometimes you need to have a little faith!

Dead stick?  What dead stick?
My pseudo-peck.
 So, of course, the burning question became... What to bake?  I adore pineapple upside-down cake and had vague memories of seeing a plum-y variation somewhere.  So I popped onto (yes, I go there a lot) and found a recipe with great reviews.

Bon App├ętit | June 1995
by Mary Jo Thoresen
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
6 large plums, halved, pitted, each half cut into 6 wedges

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup milk

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir 6 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and honey in heavy medium skillet over low heat until butter melts and sugar and honey blend in, forming thick, smooth sauce. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Arrange plums in overlapping concentric circles atop sauce.
Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 6 tablespoons butter in large bowl until light. Add sugar and beat until creamy. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in extracts. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, mixing just until blended. Spoon batter evenly over plums. Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool in pan 30 minutes.
Using knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Place platter atop cake pan. Invert cake; place platter on work surface. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently lift off pan. Serve cake warm with whipped cream.
Since my plums were small, I halved them.  I think I used eleven or twelve.  I also doubled the amount of vanilla and almond extracts in the batter.

Plum placement.
Successful inversion.
The cake was both pretty and delicious.  The honey really added something extra (I used honeysuckle honey that I bought at the Fair) and the texture of the cake was just right.  I had vanilla ice cream on hand, so I served it with that instead of whipped cream.

So, this was great, but I barely put a dent in my plum stash.  Hmmm... I think I feel a jam coming on.  I've never made jam.  Perhaps the time has come.

Keep it sweet. Pin It

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