Sunday, January 28, 2007
It has been a topsy turvy year in the fruit and vegetable garden. The vegetables are all late- we did not get seedlings in until the end of November because even as late as mid December we were having frosts ( very unusual for here). The fruit set on traditional stone fruit trees and apples and pears have been phenomenal but because of the extremely dry conditions until last week, the fruit has been very very small and a lot has dropped and then the birds have been merciless in their destruction of the fruit of some trees- taking one bite and leaving the rest. I don't mind sharing but this seems too much ....
But.... the blood plums are wonderful this year- the tree laden, the fruit small but oh so flavourful and for years I have been eyeing off a recipe in Stephanie Alexander's "The Cooks Companion" ( the first edition which I bought as my forty first birthday present when we came here in 1997) . I have to say that Stephanie's book is one of those must have books- I have a few other of her books from her restaurant days and would dearly love to get the one she did with Maggie Beer on Tuscany and Tuscan food.This recipe is called "Mieze's Plum Cake" and is German in origin ( and I have to say my mother worked for a German couple years ago who made a cake very similar to this, though we can't find the recipe ) and it is worth every bit of the effort, in fact i think its sensational and even my non-blood plum loving kids love this one:
Mieze's Plum Cake
(I have halved the quantities from the original and slightly altered some quantities but not to any great extent)
150 g softened butter
125 g sugar
100g plain flour
100g self rasing flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
50 ml milk ( or a little more)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs ( or almond meal if you have it )
20 ripe blood plums
75 g butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs ( lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and lightly grease a smallish spring form pan. Cream butter and sugar and mix in the flours and the salt. Add the two eggs and then the milk ( you may use a little more than 50 ml- the idea is to get a batter like consistency which drops slowly off the back of a batter covered spoon)
For the topping- melt the butter add the sugar and cinnamon ( it is not necessary to bring to the boil- allow to slightly cool ) and add lightly beaten eggs.
Halve the plums and remove the pip ( which is very easy)
Spoon the batter mixture into the prepared cake tin and place the halved plums on top of the batter ( they will slightly sink in) then add the topping and place in the oven and cook for one hour. Check whether the centre is cooked before removing and allow to cool a little before serving. it is really lovely served warm with some fresh cream or icecream.