Fine, so the weather decided that we are cutting the summer short, but at least we get so sample some September fruit until we’ll be reduced to winter vegetables until March.
The best medicine against September dressing up rainy and playing November? Tart and sweet plum cake with freshly whipped cream. As long as it’s raining, at least you don’t have to fight the wasps for the last piece of it. Since I didn’t have enough plums to make another classic yeast dough plum cake on a tray, I fell back upon my standard sweet cake dough and merely exchanged the usual mix of eggs, starch, sugar and cream for some crumble. Worked like a charm!
This may be my new favorite way to eat plums, next to the Austrian dumpling recipe we brought back from Vienna two years ago.
- 800g plums, washed, pitted and cut into lengthwise quarters.
- 6-7 tbsp. brown sugar
- 3 heaping tbsp. flour plus 150g flour
- 1 egg
- juice of half a lemon
- 150g shortening
- 40g sliced almonds, crumbled
- two dashes of salt
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- First step: the dough. In a bowl, blend the egg, 1-2 tbsp. brown sugar (white works as well) and 75 shortening, until you don’t see single crumbly bits of shortening any longer.
- Blend in the lemon juice.
- Add 150g flour and the dash of salt, blend. The result should be a crumbly dough that you can now roll up in a ball and use immediately.
- Get a flour-dusted rolling pin and stretch out the dough until it is about 5-7mm thick.
- Transfer the dough into a quiche pan or round cake form of 26cm diameter. If the dough tears while trying to move it, it doesn’t matter. You can fix that inside the pan, just pad things back together. Make sure to leave a vertical rim of about 3 cm.
- Onto this bed of dough, you can now arrange the plums. I prefer circles, leaving the plums near vertical (the “backs” pressed against the rim of dough. Work form outside to inside until you’re out of plums and the dough is completely covered.
- As a finishing touch, sprinkle 1-2 tbsp. of brown sugar evenly above the plums, especially when they’re still a little sour (mine were).
- Next step: the crumble. I confess that mine tend to be a little improvised. Also, I don’t like them too sweet, so feel free to add more sugar. In a large bowl, sift together 2 heaping (really heaping) tbsp. flour, 2-3 tbps. brown sugar, the almonds and a dash of salt. The almonds were completely improvised since I didn’t have hazelnut nor walnuts nor whole ground almonds. I just had white ground, but that would have been too sweet, so I ended up using a rest of white sliced almonds, which I crumbled a bit in addition. – Improvise at will!
- To this dry mixture, add the remaining 75g shortening. Now comes the tricky part: blend the shortening into the dry mixture (I swear by my dough blender, but it works with just using your fingertips, too) until you have many tiny lumps, none bigger than a peanut and until you feel no more uncovered bit of shortening. All needs to be coated with the other ingredients.
- Gently sprinkle the crumbles on top of the plums.
- Bake for about 40-50 minutes.
- After baking, let the cake cool down for at least 15 minutes.
- Serve with whipped cream, while snickering at the rain.