Saturday, August 25, 2012

Italian Prune Plums-and a Kuchen

Thirty pounds of fresh prune plums sounds like quite a bit, until you start using them. I'm down to my last couple pounds, and giving serious consideration to purchasing more. They were incredibly cheap, excellent quality (only two bad ones out of 30 lbs.) and I adore them. The season is so short, you have to act quickly if you want them.

So Far:
Chinese plum sauce
Plum chutney
Plum conserve (with orange, dried cherries, raisins, and ginger)
2 batches of pie filling (freezer)
Plum flavoured gin (similar to sloe)
A fermented sauce of pureed prunes and yeast (still fermenting, that ought to be strange)
Fruit puree for the freezer
Plum butter

Still to do:

Salted, dried plums (you plunk them in drinks and they fizz-kind of an acquired taste)
Pickled plums
A crumb topped plum pie

So, the kuchen. The cookbook called it a 'torte" but it isn't. Not only is this a breeze to make, it is delicious. Think of it as an inverted upside-down cake, that is, the sugar and spice are on to with the fruit. Unlike the typical upside down cake, it is less sweet, and you can really appreciate the tartness of the plums.

From, America Cooks, The General Federation of Women's Clubs Cookbook, 1967

Vienna Plum Torte

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 plums (I used prune plums)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I used mixed spice)

Grease an 8x8 square pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter, and add 1/2 a cup of the sugar slowly until light. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into creamed mixture. Spread evenly in pan.

Slice plums in half. Place cut side up on top of cake in rows. Mix the remaining sugar and spice together. Top the plums with the mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Serve warm or cold.

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