Wow I can’t believe my luck. I’m utterly delighted as I’ve received 10kg of damson plums from my in-laws to be. I really love those purple little fruits which normally are the herald of autumn. They are a bit early in season this year but the warm spring and (for UK standards) hot summer, have contributed to an early harvest, just in time for my plum bonanza starting with this delicious damson plums pudding cake.
Originating from the Balkans, the home country(ies) of plum brandy (known as Šljivovica or Rakija, not for the faint hearted at 40% vol.), my recipe book is packed with delicious treats which I will share over the next weeks. Plums are very nostalgic for me as they remind me of my childhood summer holidays in Bosnia and eastern Croatia. Plum trees and big wooden barrels are a common sight this time of year, in which the over ripe plums are stored for several weeks before distilled to schnapps, the highlight of the end of summer.
I’m afraid, I won’t be explaining here how to distil spirits as within the EU – and most other countries – it is illegal to do so without a license. I will, however share my sister’s amazing Damson Plum Cake Pudding recipe which is kinda healthy with the high fruit but low fat content, unless it’s served with cream and the likes.
Source: my big sis
Preparation Time: 45 min to 1.5 hour (dependent on how easy it is to de-stone the plums), 60-90 min proving
Baking Time: 60-70 min
Ingredients (24-28cm/9.5-11 inch stone ware dish or casserole)
For the Dough
- 375g/13.5 inch plain flour
- 35g/1.5 oz fresh yeast or one 7g/0.5 oz sachet dried yeast
- 2 tbs sugar
- 100ml/3.5 fl oz milk (lukewarm)
- 50g/2 oz butter (softened)
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of salt
For the Filling
- 1-1.5kg/35-53 oz plums (de-stoned & quartered)
- 300g/10.5 oz sour cream
- 100g/3.5 oz bread crumbs (I used Japanese panko bread crumbs)
- 3-6 tbs sugar (dependent on how sweet the plums are)
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
For the Glaze
- 300ml/10 fl oz milk
- 4 tbs sugar
You can serve the cake/pudding plain or with custard, cream or vanilla ice cream.
1. Wash the plums and dry on a kitchen towel.
2. Use a big bowl, add the flour and make a well in the centre.
3. Crumble in the fresh yeast (or dried) and sprinkle over the sugar.
Tip: I prefer fresh yeast as I achieve better results. You can get it from the bread counter of any supermarket with in store baking facilities. Don’t be shy, just ask at the counter.
4. Warm the milk (just lukewarm, otherwise it will kill the yeast) and pour gently over the yeast.
5. Sprinkle a bit of flour from the sides over the milk/yeast mix and stir slightly.
6. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for 10-15 minutes until it bubbles up.
7. In a cup, stir together the eggs and salt and pour over the mix.
8. Add the softened butter and either:
- Knead with a stand mixer using the kneading hooks for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and not sticky anymore or
- Combine with a wooden spoon, pour out on a clean surface and knead by hand for 5-10 minutes until it’s smooth and non-sticky)
Tip: If kneading by hand, the dough might be very sticky at first. Use a plastic spatula to remove it from the surface and keep on kneading until the gluten is developed. You know the dough has the right structure when it’s not sticky anymore and feels very smooth and silky.
9. Pop back into a clean bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to prove (rise) for 30-60 minutes in a warm place until it has doubled or tripled in size.
10. In the meantime, de-stone and quarter the plums.
Tip: I have to admit, my plums were very tricky to de-stone, I had to cut around the stone which took me a while – but it was worth it.
11. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan oven or 392ºF/356ºC fan oven.
12. Butter a 24-28cm/9.5-11 inch round oven proof dish (I used a 24cm/9.5 inch Le Creuset casseroles dish, even better would be stone ware or a non sticky oven proof pan). The bigger the dish the better, as it gives the pudding some space to grow.
13. Once proved, knead down the dough, dust the clean surface with flour and roll it out to an approx. 50cm x 35cm/50 inch x 1 ft 1 inch rectangle (3-5mm thick or 1/8-3/16 inch)
Tip: Even better is to use a large, clean kitchen towel. Dust slightly and roll out the dough as it is easier to place the pudding into the pan once rolled up (can get a bit wobbly and messy otherwise). Don’t worry if it has any cracks, it will all come together during baking.
14. Spread the sour cream onto the rolled out dough, sprinkle over the bread crumbs followed by the plums.
15. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the fruit
16. Slowly roll the dough to a sausage and then into a snail and place in the buttered dish.
17. Pour over the milk and sprinkle over the sugar.
18. Leave to prove for another 20 minutes
19. Pop into the oven for 60-70 minutes until the milk has been fully absorbed and the pudding doesn’t wobble.
Tip: If it darkens too quickly, place some grease proof paper over the cake to stop it burning.
20. The pudding tastes best while still warm. If you want to present is as a cake, you have to let it cool down completely. I had a bit of trouble getting mine out of the dish but managed by gently cutting around the edges, turning it up-side down on a plate and giving it a gentle shake.
21. Serve the Damson Plums Pudding Cake on its own or with some custard, cream or vanilla ice cream.
22. Please share your ideas and recommendations.
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