BRANDIED PLUM CAKE

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - FOOD DOWN TIME -

Us­ing the same ba­sic bat­ter as my Do-It-All Cake (pic­tured on page 43), this dense, moist dessert with fresh and dried plums and a crum­ble top­ping is a cross be­tween a cake and a pud­ding. It’s the kind of thing I serve when I know we will be sit­ting around the ta­ble for some time after the main course, talk­ing, drink­ing wine, maybe hav­ing a lit­tle cheese. After a while, I bring this out. You could make it with all fresh plums or only prunes, but I think the com­bi­na­tion of chewy and soft fruit is what makes it in­ter­est­ing. SERVES 8-10 2 large plums 170g stoned prunes 240ml brandy or Ar­magnac, or as needed CRUM­BLE 140g plain flour 65g sugar (I use or­ganic gran­u­lated cane sugar) pinch fine sea salt 75g salted but­ter, at room tem­per­a­ture CAKE LAYER 245g plain flour 1½ tea­spoons bak­ing pow­der ¼ tea­spoon fine sea salt 110g un­salted but­ter, at room tem­per­a­ture (plus ex­tra for the tin) 300g sugar (as above) 2 large eggs, at room tem­per­a­ture 1½ vanilla pods 175ml dou­ble cream TO FIN­ISH 30g salted but­ter, cold 25g sugar (as above) 1 Stone the fresh plums and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Cut the prunes in half. Com­bine the plums and prunes in a small bowl and cover with the brandy. Cover and let stand at room tem­per­a­ture for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Soak­ing the fresh plums in liqueur gives even out-of-sea­son fruit a flavour boost. 2 To make the crum­ble, whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Slice the but­ter and add it to the flour mix­ture. Us­ing your fin­ger­tips, rub the mix­ture to­gether un­til it is well com­bined and holds to­gether when squeezed in your fist. Set aside at room tem­per­a­ture. 3 Make the cake layer. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Lightly but­ter a 23cm x 33cm tin or bak­ing dish. 4 Sift the flour, bak­ing pow­der and salt into a bowl. Beat the but­ter and sugar in a large bowl with an elec­tric mixer on high speed un­til pale, about 4 min­utes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, un­til light and fluffy. Use the tip of a small knife to split the vanilla pods length­wise, then scrape the seeds into the bat­ter, sav­ing the pods for another use. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mix­ture in thirds, al­ter­nat­ing with two ad­di­tions of the cream, scrap­ing down the bowl as needed, and mix un­til smooth. Spread the bat­ter in the tin. 5 Strain the fruit in a sieve set over a bowl, re­serv­ing the soak­ing liq­uid. Scat­ter the soaked fruits over the cake bat­ter and use a spoon to push them down into the bat­ter. Spread the crum­ble top­ping over the bat­ter, leav­ing a few large pieces. Cut the cold but­ter into small cubes. Dot the crum­ble with the but­ter and sprin­kle with the sugar. 6 Bake un­til the cake is golden brown and a wooden tooth­pick in­serted in the cen­tre (avoid the fruit!) comes out with moist crumbs, 40 to 45 min­utes. Set the tin on a wire rack to cool. Serve it slightly warm or cooled to room tem­per­a­ture with a driz­zle of the re­served soak­ing liq­uid. I love this when it is slightly un­der­cooked with a very moist cen­tre, as here, but if you pre­fer, bake it for about 55 min­utes, or un­til cooked through and the crumbs on the tooth­pick are dry. It is su­per-de­li­cious ei­ther way. ➤

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