Plums: A New Discovery

I love rhubarb.  I grew up having it in abundance in the Midwest.  People would get excited if they found out you wanted some because then they could give away some of their I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-all-this-rhubarb abundance.  Here in North Carolina it does not grow.  It is a scarce thing to be treasured.  I have two bags of frozen rhubarb in my freezer that have been there for almost a year now and I’ve been too afraid to use them because I keep thinking I have to use them on the perfect dessert for the perfect occasion.  They are too valuable to use otherwise.  That was my mindset until recently.

What changed?  I discovered plums.  Wonderfully tart plums that when baked, bake in to soft pockets of jam with none of the rhubarb “stringyness.”  Plums are my new rhubarb, at least while living in the South.  Here’s what I’ve done with plums so far in the past couple of weeks:

First I made Brown Butter and Plum Tartlettes.  The rich nuttiness imparted by the toasted, browned butter paired perfectly with the tart bits of plum.  This recipe is definitely a keeper for me.

Brown Butter Plum Tart

Next I had to make what I soon discovered to be “The Classic.”  Marion Burros‘ Plum Tort.  Only I put my own spin on it by taking some of the white flour out and added ground almonds because I desired the rustic taste and texture from the almonds to compliment the plums.  This recipe was loved by a book group I brought it too and it is easy-peasy to make.

Rustic Plum Torte

Most recently I had homemade ricotta on hand so I made a super moist ricotta “cake” that was delicately flavored with a bit of lemon peel.  Over this cake I spooned a scarcely sweetened, almost sour, plum compote.  The opposite flavor profiles of “subtle on the verge of boring” and “way too lively” married perfectly together and created a dessert that still has my husband raving!

A slice of Moist Ricotta Cake, made with homemade ricotta, with a tart plum compote spooned over top.

I hope you enjoy and have been inspired!

~Whitney

Cake

Today I’m going to let you know about a cake I recently made for two of my coworkers’ birthday (they happened to have the same birth date).  I have so many tarts and pastries listed on this blog, I thought it might be good to feature a cake.  The cake I made for their birthday is a chocolate cake, frosted and filled with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, and then “doused” with a chocolate ganache over the top.  Indeed, it is rich.  I was a bit scared it would be too rich and too over-the-top for most people’s senses, but judging from the string of compliments that I received and continue to receive at random about that cake, I would say that people do like a little richness in their lives sometimes, despite their objections and mumblings about being on a “diet.”  This cake is completely satisfying, especially served with homemade coffee and caramel ice creams like I did for the birthday celebration.  I think a little of something completely satisfying, no matter how bad it is for you, is often better for you, both for your spirit and your body, then a lot of something that may be better for you, but fails to satisfy and “hit the mark.”  Do you agree?

A single slice of cake sitting daintily on a plate. Let's get closer, shall we?

Looking beautiful, regal, and elegant. Indeed, the cake was so tall that I had to buy a new cake carrier since it wouldn't fit in the one I had!

Whoah! Hello gorgeous! At this point I desperately wanted to put the camera down and exchange it for a spoon, but I held strong and managed to take one more picture for you so you could get the "full effect."

There. A scoop each of coffee and caramel ice cream. The caramel is probably my favorite ice cream I make and the coffee ice cream made a delightful, deconstructed "mocha" with the chocolate cake. Melted pools of cool cream soaking into layers of chocolate cake. . . hmm, I think it is time to go get that spoon.

 

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and I apologize for not being able to pass you a slice of cake through the computer screen as I am throughly enjoying my slice! 😉

Until next time,

~Whitney