Category Archives: Plums

Plum Shortbread Bars

Plum Shortbread Bars​

I try to keep a certain level of variety on here, but with 600 recipes there are bound to be some variations on a few really good staples.

Plum Shortbread Bars​

Case in point: shortbread bars. They’re one of the simplest desserts in my baking arsenal, and also one of my very favorites. They’re quick and easy to make and have a short ingredient list. You almost certainly have all the shortbread ingredients right now.

Shortbread bars hit all the same notes as pie, yet require only fractions of the work and time. The shortbread dough doubles as both base and topping, and you don’t need to roll or crimp anything—rustic is the name of the game. You can make them square, or bake them up round and cut them into wedges.

Plum Shortbread Bars​

Perhaps best of all, shortbread bars seamlessly adapt to whatever fruit you have in hand, whether it be apples, cherries, blackberries or an astonishing amount of sweet & tangy late summer plums.

Yep. This recipe’s a keeper.

Plum Shortbread Bars​
Plum Shortbread Bars
makes one 8-inch pan, 8-12 wedges

Filling:
3 cups sliced fresh plums* (1-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 medium lemon)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoons cornstarch

Shortbread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

Place oven racks in top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, or line with aluminum foil, leaving overhang, and grease with butter. Set aside.

Make plum filling. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sliced plums, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside while you make the shortbread.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for topping.

Pour remaining shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using your hand to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Spoon plum filling over the top and arrange into an even layer.

For the topping, use your fingers to pinch together small portions of the reserved shortbread mixture. Scatter them over the top of the blackberry layer.

If your pan is on the shallow side, place it on a rimmed baking sheet to collect any light overflow. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Move bars to the top rack and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until browned. Tent with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes, or until cold.

Run a thin knife around the edges of the pan. Use parchment overhang to remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve.

Leftover Plum Shortbread Wedges will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. They will soften over time.

Note:

I used 2 medium red plums and a dozen Italian prune plums.

Plum Frangipane Galette

Plum Frangipane Galette

This Plum Frangipane Galette might just be the prettiest thing I’ve ever made.

Do you see that golden crust? Those red and gold plums? The frangipane peeking through? It’s gorgeous.

But looks aren’t everything, so it’s a good thing it’s delicious too. The crust—my favorite all-butter recipe—is flaky as all get-out, and it’s filled to the brim with barely sweetened fresh plums and fragrant frangipane, AKA the almond pastry cream of dreams. It’s so good!

My train of thought is not hard to follow. As this is my third frangipane based dessert in three weeks, you can probably gather that I am on a bit of a frangipane kick right now. But it’s for good reason—frangipane is easy to blitz up in a food processor and works as a perfect foil to any number of summer fruits. I’m already thinking up some ways to incorporate it into my Thanksgiving pies, too!

Plum Frangipane Galette

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Today, it’s all about the plums.

Plum Frangipane Galette
makes 1 galette, about 8 servings

Frangipane:
1 cup almond flour or 4 ounces blanched almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold-ish room temperature, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the Galette:
1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough or other good single crust recipe
3 medium plums, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

For Assembly:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar (optional)

For Serving (optional):
confectioner’s sugar
vanilla ice cream
whipped cream

Make the frangipane. In a food processor (or very good blender), pulse almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt and sugar together. Pulse in butter. Pour in egg and almond extract, and process until frangipane is a homogenous paste.

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick (about a 12-inch circle). Transfer to prepared pan. Spread frangipane in a circle, leaving a 2-inch border on all sides. Arrange plums in a pattern over the top, making sure to overlap the slices. Fold dough over the sides of the filling to contain it. Dot exposed filling with butter.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush mixture on exposed pie dough. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Move to the lower rack. Bake for 20-25 more minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve as-is, or with sifted confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Galette will keep covered at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to four.

Plum Cobbler

Plum CobblerI have been asked many times over the last several summers for my favorite cobbler recipe. Every time, I have referred these inquiries elsewhere—usually to Deb—because the truth is that…I don’t like cobbler. It sounds so baby-ish to say it that way, that I just don’t like an entire category of food regardless of flavor or nuance or anything else. But I just don’t like it.

Or, as you may have gathered from the title of today’s recipe, I just didn’t like it.Plum CobblerBut that was before I started a blog and spent time trying to bake with all types of seasonal produce, even stone fruit, which I previously thought should never be warmed. Pre-2015 Liz would never, ever have eaten Plum Cake or Peach Tart and definitely would have passed on Peach Pie, and she would have looked on in horror as 2019 Liz ate apricot jam on an English muffin while in Maine a few weeks ago. But the truth is that having this blog has brought me around to all these things and more, and that’s how we got to this momentous day, on which I have prepared, eaten and enjoyed a cobbler.

*bows awkwardly*

*and metaphorically*

Um, sorry. Got a little carried away there.Plum CobblerIn retrospect, I’m not sure why I ever turned my nose up at this particular category of dessert—I mean, what could be bad about fluffy biscuits baked over seasonal fruit and served with ice cream?! Too many textures, maybe? I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll figure it out one day. For now, I know that I’m a cobbler convert, thanks in no small part to the glut of fabulous plums at my local green market and a drive to bake even when my un-air-conditioned kitchen is already 85 degrees.Plum CobblerTrust me, though. This Plum Cobbler is worth heating up the house. It may very well make a believer of even the staunchest of the anti-cooked-stone-fruit contingent.Plum CobblerThe filling is made of sliced fresh plums (I used a mix of red and black), sugar, lemon juice and ground ginger for depth, and a touch of cornstarch. It’s piled into a baking dish and dotted with butter.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerNext up is the topping, which is simply my Cream Biscuit recipe with an additional tablespoon of sugar. Instead of rolling and cutting the biscuit dough as I usually would, I prefer to scoop the dough in small increments and then flatten them with my hands.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerThe flattened pieces are then arranged in a cobblestone pattern—this is where the name cobbler comes from. After brushing the dough with cream and sprinkling on some coarse sugar, everything is baked for 45 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbling.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerMaybe my favorite thing about cobbler (and crisps and crumbles) is that it’s best hot from the oven. I like to let mine cool ten minutes, just until the filling stops bubbling, before spooning it into shallow bowls and finishing it off with vanilla ice cream.Plum CobblerPlum Cobbler is tart and sweet and a bit on the syrupy side, the perfect contrast to the fluffy biscuit topping. And that’s to say nothing of the outstanding vibrant color of the filling or the way slow-melting ice cream rounds out this bowl of late summer goodness. It’s damn near impossible to resist.Plum Cobbler

Plum Cobbler
makes one 9×13-inch dish, about 12-16 servings

Plum Filling:
4 pounds plums (about 10-12 plums; I used a mix of red & black)
1/2-2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Cream Biscuit Topping:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream + more for brushing
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)

For serving:
vanilla ice cream

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Set aside.

Use a large sharp chef’s knife to pit and slice plums into wedges (I got about 12 wedges per plum). Place plum pieces in a large mixing bowl. Fold in sugar, ground ginger, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice. Transfer filling to prepared baking dish and dot with butter.

Make the cream biscuit topping. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour in heavy cream and fold into a sticky dough.

Scoop biscuit dough in ~2 tablespoon increments, flatten them with you hands, and arrange them in a cobblestone pattern over the filling. Brush the biscuit topping with more cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using. Bake cobbler 45-50 minutes, or until golden on top with bubbling filling.

Let cobbler cool 5-10 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream. Cobbler is best the day it’s made, but leftovers may be tightly covered and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4. Reheat before serving.Plum CobblerPlum CobblerPlum Cobbler

Plum Cake

Plum CakeHello! How was your Labor Day weekend? Did you go on a vacation? Did you have a cookout? Please tell me you did something fun, because all I did was work. Thank goodness I have friends who know how to save me from myself by taking me out to dinner! Mark my words, I’m not doing anything on Columbus Day weekend.

But enough about my personal life. This is a baking blog and my day-to-day simply is not as interesting as this Plum Cake.Plum CakeI’ve never been much for cooked stone fruit (peaches, apricots, etc.) in my desserts, but I make an exception for this cake. I mean, how could I possibly resist a buttery, brown sugary cake full of soft, jammy late-summer plums?!

This is my favorite kind of cake–the “everyday” variety. There’s no layering, no frosting, no need for a special occasion. This rustic dessert is one that can be whipped up anytime the need for cake arises.

Plum CakePlum Cake has the same base as my Mango Upside-Down Cake. The cake itself is super soft and full of brown sugar flavor. I added the tiniest bit of cinnamon and a little almond extract here, just to help the plums “pop.” The batter is a breeze to whip up, and only takes a few minutes to put together. Once you’ve got the batter in the pan, lay halved plums over the top and slide it into the oven.

Plum CakePlum CakeAs the cake bakes, the plums collapse into the batter, leaving divots in the top of the finished product. The cake can be served as-is, but I like to sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. I love the contrast between the browned edges and the white top. And of course, when the cake is sliced, there are gorgeous purplish-red cross-sections of plum all the way through!

Plum CakeThis Plum Cake is a fantastic way to use some of that good end-of-summer fruit. The sweet-tart plums really shine in this simple almond-scented brown sugar cake. As we move into fall, this cake is a great way to enjoy the last of what summer has to offer.Plum Cake

Plum Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
4-6 plums,* halved and pitted (I used empress plums)
1/4-1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.* Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in dark brown and granulated sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. With the mixer on low, mix in vanilla and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and spread with a silicone spatula to even out the top. Tap pan on the counter two or three times to release any large air bubbles. Lay halved plums cut-side down over the top of the batter. Bake 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.

Let cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. Place a separate rack over a sheet of wax paper. Release the cake from the pan and place over prepared rack. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Slice and serve. 

Notes:

1.  Use any plums you like. This cake works well with black, red, empress, or Italian prune plums. If the plums are small, you will need more to cover the top of the batter.

2.  If you do not have a springform pan, this cake may be made in a deep dish pie plate, or a deep cake pan. If using one of these alternatives, serve the cake directly from the pan. This cake does not invert well.