Tag Archives: plum

Plum, almond & ricotta cake…

It’s British plum season, which in my book, is very good news! I grew up with a Victoria plum tree in my garden and spent many an early Autumn roped into picking its ripe fruit. They run rings around the tasteless supermarket, year round varieties! If you can get your hands on some gorgeous British plums, then I highly recommend that you give this plum, almond & ricotta cake a go…

It’s amazingly moist due to the inclusion of ground almonds in the cake batter and has a seam of plum jam running through the middle. I unfortunately had to resort to shop bought plum jam, luckily Bon Maman does a good one, but if you’re super organised you could make your own jam too.

I bought these beauties from Polly at Urban Larder and then returned within a few hours with the finished cake for her counter :)…

To make it you’ll need…

250g pot of ricotta

140g butter, melted

4 eggs

225g caster sugar plus 1tbsp for the top of the cake

250g SR Flour

200g ground almonds

4 tbsp plum or apricot jam

5 plums, quartered

Handful of flaked almonds, toasted

Icing sugar to dust

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and grease and line the bottom of an 8 inch/ 20cm cake tin.

Beat together the ricotta, melted butter, eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Fold in the flour and ground almonds and that’s your cake batter made…easy!

Spoon half of the cake mix into the prepared tin. Blob the jam out as evenly as possible over the surface…

and then cover with the remaining batter. Carefully smooth the top and arrange your plum halves on the top, before sprinkling with sugar…

Bake for 1 and a half hours until the cake is golden and the plums have started to caramelise…

Leave it to cool for a few minutes before removing it from the tin and letting it cool completely. For the finishing touches, scatter the toasted almonds over the top of the cake, dust with icing sugar and there you have it, a delicious autumnal cake…

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Proper Polish plum dumplings (aka knedle)…

I went home to Cambridge last weekend and on arrival was greeted with the sight of my sister cooking up a batch of knedle. Now…knedle are proper Polish fayre…don’t be put off when I tell you that they’re actually plum dumplings made by wrapping whole plums in a dough made from pureed potato! They are then boiled, fried in butter and rolled in sugar! It may all sound a bit unconventional but as I’ve said before…don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…

It was a real treat to have the knedle made for me as I’m usually the one in the kitchen. But I got my sister to give me a blow by blow account of how they were made…and it goes a little something like this…

You need…

1kg potatoes

1.5 cups plain flour

1 tbsp potato flour (I’m reliably informed that you can buy this in Holland and Barrett)

1 egg

1 tbsp butter

salt

680g plums (approx)

extra butter for frying

sugar to sprinkle

sour cream to serve (optional)

Rinse the plums, cut them in half, remove the stones and pat them dry.

Peel, boil and drain the potatoes. Add a knob of butter and mash really well. If you’re lucky enough to have a potato ricer…use it!

Leave the mashed potato to cool slightly and then add the egg, salt, sifted flour (both varieties). Quickly knead into a smooth dough. Divide the dough into pieces, you will need a blob of dough per plum. Take each blob and pat it between floured hands. Take 2 halves of plum, reassemble it into a whole and wrap it in the dough to form a ball shape like this…

Knedle aren’t usually this big but the only ripe plums we could find at this time of year were huge yellow ones, which meant our dumplings were monsters!

Bring some salted water to the boil in a big saucepan and gently drop a few dumplings in at a time. When they rise to the surface remove them using a slotted spoon and leave them to drain.

Now…you could eat them at this point, drizzled with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar but we took it a step further just as my Polish Granny used to do.

Melt some butter in a frying pan and gently brown the dumplings on all sides…

When they have taken on a gorgeous colour, roll them in caster sugar…

Finally, serve them while they’re still warm with a generous dollop of soured cream…

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Essential festival packing….

Tomorrow morning I’m heading off to the Big Chill Festival. Despite this being my 5th year of attendance, the annual ritual of packing far too much and jaunting off to a field in the middle of rural Herefordshire still hasn’t lost it’s excitement! Earlier today I wrote a Facebook status about the fact that I’ve stocked up with 2 litres of booze, tonic water, limes, bin bags, wet wipes, wellies, a selection of hats and a big fur coat and asking…’what more could you want for the perfect festival experience!?’ the answer, of course…home baked goodies to sustain the (possibly) soggy campers!

The logistics of carrying these baked goods was at the forefront of my mind so cupcakes or anything too fragile were instantly ruled out. I decided the flatter the cake the better and googled ‘tray bakes’. Waitrose came up trumps with what I have now deemed to be perfect festival fodder…

Plum tray bake with a cheesecake ripple

200g tub cream cheese

1tsp vanilla extract

3tbsp caster sugar

4 medium eggs

175g unsalted butter, softened

175g dark muscovado sugar

200g self-raising flour

400g ripe plums, halved, stoned and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 28cm x 18cm  shallow baking tray making sure that the paper comes up higher than the rim of the tin.

Beat the cream cheese, vanilla extract, caster sugar and one of the eggs together until smooth.

In another bowl beat together the remaining eggs, butter, muscovado sugar and flour.

Now comes the assembling part…spread half the creamed flour mixture onto the base of the lined tray, dollop half the cream cheese mixture on top and swirl it around to create a marbled effect. Scatter over half of the plums. Then spread over the remaining flour mixture and dot with the last of the cream cheese mixture before topping with the plums.

Bake for 40/45 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into approx 10 pieces (I need mine to stretch to 14 so that I don’t leave any of my friends wanting!).

This photo makes it look a bit overcooked but inside it looks just right…

The smell coming from the oven as it was baking was mouthwateringly divine…if this cake lasts until tomorrow without being devoured by either me or my housemates it’ll be a pure miracle!

And then there’s the issue of whether it can survive being packed into tupperware to endure a long car journey and whether it’ll still be edible after being dragged along on a trolley on the trek from the car park to the campsite! By which point I will probably be hungry enough to eat my own arm and will most definitely have earned myself a slice!

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