Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Plum Kuchen

I grew up eating Plum Kuchen.  Kuchen just means cake in German, but really it's sort of a coffee cake, made all the more succulent with the addition of plums.  The cake part is dense and satisfying, and the plums add sweetness and tartness both.

In our childhood yard, we had 2 Italian Plum trees.  If you've ever had one of these trees, or lived close to one, you know that they produce a BUNCH of plums.  My Mom had us all go out every morning when these were ripe and pick up the windfall fruit and pick any of the ripe ones from the tree.  Yuck, what a job... some plums are good, some of smashed & rotting and some have bees swarming around them. If you throw one at your sister, you better make sure you are a faster runner. Until you've picked up bags and bags of these things, you are not yet in my league.  I hated doing it, but I do love these plums. The cake was our reward.  Thanks Mom, for the cake, not all the yard and garden chores.

Makes 10 to 12 servings
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
1 cup flour
10 to 12 Italian plums
2 to 3 tbsp. brown sugar
Powdered sugar for serving

Cream butter with sugar until smoothly blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla and flour until batter is well mixed. Butter and flour an 11 inch round quiche dish, or shallow pan (removable bottom is best). Spread batter evenly in pan and arrange fruit over the surface. Cut the plums in halves, remove pits.

Place cut side up over unbaked Kuchen, placing close together.

Sprinkle fruit with brown sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until cake feels firm when touched in the center. The fruit may not look done, but if the cake is firm, then it is ready to remove from the oven.
Cool 30 minutes. Remove pan rim and serve, warm or cold.

About 30 minutes before serving, dust the surface liberally with powdered sugar. This allows sugar to dissolve on fruit, making a distinctive pattern on cake.

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