Plum Upside-Down Cakeadapted from Martha Stewart Living
If this isn't my favorite cake, it's close. Please make it and tell me you love it, too!
10 plums, pitted and quartered
6 tbl unsalted butter
9 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add plums and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until coated with butter and shiny. Add sugar and cinnamon and cook , stirring frequently until soft, 10-15 minutes. Remove plums from pan and transfer to a baking sheet to cool. Reserve syrup.
In a buttered and floured 9" round cake pan, arrange plums in a decorative pattern. Return syrup to medium heat and boil until very thick. Immediately pour syrup over fruit and set aside to cool.
3/4 c flour
1 tsp b.powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbl coarse-ground cornmeal
6 tbl unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 c almond paste
3/4 c + 2 tbl sugar
3 lg eggs, separated, room temp.
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 c milk, room temp.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, b.powder, salt. Whisk in cornmeal.
Cream together butter and almond paste. Gradually add 3/4 c sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in yolks, followed by vanilla and almond extracts. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Pour batter into another container, set aside, and scrub the mixing bowl to remove all traces of fat - swishing the bowl with vinegar for good measure.
In cleaned bowl, whip egg whites until foamy, starting at low speed and increasing to medium. Gradually sprinkle in 2 tablespoons sugar, increase mixer speed to medium high, and beat until soft peaks form. Fold 1/4 of the whipped whites to cake batter to loosen, then gently fold in the remaining whites, taking care that they don't deflate.
Carefully spread the batter over fruit and bake for about an hour, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake is clean when removed.
Cool cake in pan. When ready to serve, place over low heat for a minute, run a knife around the edges of the pan, and invert onto a plate. If any plums remain in the pan, carefully scrape them out and place on cake.
Wild blackberries haven't yet arrived in the Indian Valley, but there were plenty of the cultivated class in Chico, where I sampled my way about the stalls of Saturday's Farmer's Market. I selected some A+ olallieberries, grown by a Hmong family in nearby Paradise.
Three pints of glistening olallieberries, now filling a pie.
Olallieberries are cross between a loganberry and a youngberry, a hybrid of hybrids! Grown mainly in California and parts of Oregon, they resemble an elongated blackberry, a little sweeter, but tart.
If you can't find them, you can -most nobly- substitute standard blackberries or any varietal.
3/4- 1 1/4 c sugar, depending on sweetness of berries
pinch of salt
juice and zest from one lemon
3 tbl minute tapioca
2 tbl butter, cut into small pieces
1 tbl milk
Preheat oven 425 degrees.
Combine berries with sugar, salt, and lemon. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if you like. Add tapioca and let sit for 15 minutes.
Line a 9" pie plate with dough rolled out to 14", letting the dough hang over the rim of the plate. Fill with berry mixture, smooth to the edges, and dot with butter. Cover with second piece of dough and with a pair of scissors trim the dough so it extends an inch beyond the rim of the plate. To seal, fold dough under so it sits on the edge of the plate. Pinch into a into a decorative border, or crimp with a fork.
Whisk together yolk with 1 tbl milk, making an eggwash. Brush dough with wash, sprinkle with sugar, and with a sharp knife cut a few vents into the dough.
Bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce heat to 350, place pie onto baking sheet, and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until crust is dark and olallieberry juice is bubbling through the steam vents.