Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yogurt Plum Cake--A Simple Autumn Dessert

From what I know about the culinary world, I would risk a statement that only Polish and French, and perhaps also Italians and Hungarians, have such a great affection for plums. This may apply to all kind of plums, but in particular to these oval and dark purple one with the blueish coating on their skin, which in Poland we call Hungarian plums, and here they are called Italian plums. In France, I often ate them in classic tarts on a short or puff pastry crust. But once, many years ago, a French friend made a cake with a plum preserve. I still remember how exquisitely delicious it was--with a very thin and buttery crust that immediately dissolved in the mouth and long-cooked preserve or rather a plum butter on top. I always promise myself to email her and ask about her recipe.

When Italian plums are picked at their ripest stage, they have most aroma and flesh, and least juice of all the plums I tried. This quality makes them perfect for baking, preserving, and using for all kinds of cooking. Unlike other plums that grow all over the world and are often available all year round, Italian plums appear in my food store only for a short time in mid-September and mid-October. So I thought that they were already gone, but today I found them again in one of the stores. I bought two pounds of them and made this simple cake.

Yogurt Plum Cake

2 lb Italian plums, washed,

3 eggs,
1/2 cup (150g) natural yogurt,
1 and 1/2 cup flour (250g) all purpose flour,
2 cups (300g) powdered sugar,
1/2 cup (150ml) vegetable oil,
1 and 1/4 oz (7g) sachet dry yeasts,
1 tsp vanilla extract,
juice from one lemon,
1 tbsp butter to grease the baking tin,
2 tbsp fine corn meal.

1. Cut washed plums in half alongside and remove the pit.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).
3. Separate egg yolks and whites. Beat the yolks with powdered sugar until almost white. Add to that mixture yogurt, oil and lemon juice. Mix.
4. In a separate bowl combine flour and yeast and add to the batter. Mix until it becomes smooth.
5. Beat the whites until stiff. Using spatula fold them into the batter.
6. Grease the baking tin (about 9 by 13 inches) with butter. Sprinkle it with corn meal and spread the batter all over it. Place halves of plums on top, skin up.

7. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until the cake is set and light gold.

Serve dusted with icing sugar.