Saturday, August 28, 2010

Plum Cake Tatin

I have a little routine every day. I don't usually watch tv during the day, unless Rob is watching the news early in the morning. I do, however, like to see what Ina Garten is making at 5:00. So, I'll try to leave some mindless task until 5:00 so I can be productive while I salivate. Last Thursday, I had some sugar peas to string, so I made a beeline for the tv.

She was making a special dinner for Jeffrey's end of the week return (I hope you're reading this, Abbie, or I will really feel stupid!). For dessert, she made a plum tatin (she can pronounce it way better than I can). Typically, the dessert uses apples, but she happened to have some italian prune-plums. As I was watching, I remembered that I also had some plums sitting on my kitchen table. They weren't ripening the way I wanted them to, and Kate, my plum eater, was not interested.

Now, I rarely have all the ingredients needed to make a recipe (what fun would that be?) - but, in this case - I did.

The recipe is an easy one - filled with everyday ingredients - but with a decadent result. I will be making this again, but the next time I'll skip the plums. Josh and I were thinking it would be great with figs, but I'm going to make it with peaches for tomorrow. I'll keep you posted. One other note: you have to serve it with fresh whipped cream or ice cream - and it must be warm. Yum.

* 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
* 10 to 12 purple "prune" plums, cut in half and pitted
* 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
* 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 1/3 cup sour cream
* 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* Confectioners' sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the plums in the dish, cut side down.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don't stir. Pour evenly over the plums.

Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the plums and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If a plum sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar.

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