JAMIE AND CLARE BAKE A PLUM CRUMBLE CAKE
We are settled into our new apartment, as you all know, and oh ever so happy to be here. Do we miss our old apartment, the one that we so lovingly renovated to our own taste and lived in for 5 years? No! Our new building and neighborhood are wonderfully quiet and relaxing, our floor-to-ceiling French windows are flung open to catch the breeze and let in today’s gorgeous summer light. I am slowly getting used to working in our tiny galley-sized kitchen and only pause for a second or two as I try and remember where each baking utensil, measuring cup, mixing bowl or cake pan has been stashed.
And it has been an incredibly busy time since our move, what with unpacking and shuffling everything we own from one end of the apartment to the other until everything has found its place, waving our arms, stomping our feet and screaming over the telephone trying to correct the errors made by the phone/internet/tv, insurance and parking garage companies (are we the only people who have ever moved in this city?), struggling to keep up my blog and get back into the swing of visiting all the other food blogs on my list and now with a visit from the lovely Clare.
In the midst of all the craziness, I was honored with a food blog award by a fellow food blogger. Now I ask you, what draws people to each other, what makes us take the first step, say the first friendly word, and decide that we have everything needed to becoming good friends, no matter the distance between? I stumbled upon the fun food blog Mom’s Cooking Club and found a fellow Floridian named Jamie who owns not one but two Boston Terriers. That was all I needed! We had too much in common for us not to become foodie friends! And just before I moved, while I was at the height of my craziness and angst, she awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award! Thank you, Jamie! It really made everything worth while!
So here are the rules :
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
I am passing on this award to 7 food blogs and these deserving food bloggers :
Lien of Notitie Van Lien (Lien’s Notes)
Ilva of Lucullian Delights
Heavenly Housewife of From Donuts to Delirium: My Life as a Housewife
Simone of Junglefrog Cooking
Deeba of Passionate About Baking
Mary of One Perfect Bite
Sophie of Sophie’s Foodiefiles
I love these food blogs and the women behind all of them are great and truly creative!
And you really want to know 7 things about me that you don’t already know?
1. I spent over 5 years researching my genealogy and organized 2 huge family reunions with all of the formerly unknown relatives I discovered.
2. I have a degree in Psychology with a minor in Art History.
3. I do not wear gold jewelry.
4. I “collect” Opera Houses, trying to see an Opera everywhere I go; Palais Garnier in Paris , La Scala Opera House in Milan, The National Opera House in Budapest, the Nantes Opera and the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC.
5. I bumped into Andy Warhol on a street in NYC. My husband and I have a running competition of who saw the most famous person on the street, in airplanes, etc.
6. I love chocolate-covered marshmallow Santas, Easter Bunnies and Valentine’s Hearts.
7. I still refer to (and think of) my mom’s house in Satellite Beach where I grew up as “home”.
Now it’s your turn, ladies. Enjoy the award!
Clare and I spent hours racking our little brains for what we could bake for this month’s Bread Baking Day challenge. I participate in this great bread event created by Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte every month and just didn’t want to miss it. This month’s challenge BBD #22 is hosted by Stefanie of Hefe und mehr and she has invited us over for a potluck breakfast, sweet breads only, thank you very much. This is perfect as I only eat sweet for breakfast!
We thought long and hard, pushing aside the thought of bringing Clare’s No-Knead Bread because seeing this fabulous bread it is hard to imagine that it is actually amazingly sweet! But she and I put our heads together, one so dark, the other so blond, and decided to bake a Plum Cake.
Again, names can be deceiving. The base of this cake is a very slightly enriched, barely sweet bread dough, pushed into a pan, topped with whatever seasonal fruit you like, snuggling down deep into the soft bread dough under a cozy blanket of not-too-sweet crumble topping. Eaten warm from the oven, the dough is tender yet dense like the perfect slice of homemade bread, the greengages that we had chosen bursting out in a sweet, tangy flavor sensation, the crunch of the chopped pecans in the crumb topping adding a wonderful texture and nuttiness to this ideal of all breakfast treats.
PLUM CRUMBLE CAKE
Straight from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess (and aren’t we all just a little bit Domestic Goddess, after all?)
1 ½ tsps rapid-rise yeast
2 ¼ cups (280 g) white bread flour + more as needed
½ tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
¾ cup + 2 Tbs (@215 ml) milk, tepid
1 medium or large egg, beaten
2 Tbs (30 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 ¼ lbs (600 g) plums, we used greengages (Reine Claudes) *
1 – 3 Tbs sugar **
Crumble Topping :
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
scant ½ cup (80 – 100 g) light brown sugar
½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, diced or cut in pieces
1 cup walnut or pecan pieces, very coarsely chopped
* Any fruit will do, whatever is in season, always pitted, sweet, tart or mild. We happened to stumble upon a fruit stall at our market with the most flavorful, sweet greengage plums and scooped them up! I so want to try this with pitted, halved cherries. In the winter, apples will be great!
** Nigella Lawson calls for 3 tablespoons sugar and I thought that this was outrageous! I wouldn’t want to cover up or drown out the beautiful sweetness and rich, full flavor of the plums with sugar. Use your discretion. How sweet do you want it and how sweet is the fruit that you are using? We stirred less than a tablespoon into the greengage plums.
Make the dough :
Place the yeast, flour, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour in the warm milk, stirring. Add the beaten egg and the cubes of very soft butter and, using a wooden spoon, stir until you have a well-blended, sticky dough.
Turn out onto a well-floured work surface. As we felt that our dough was much too soft and gloppy, we stirred in just enough flour until it was at least slightly workable and would hold together rather than slither all over the work surface.
Knead by hand for 10 minutes, adding flour a little at a time until you have a beautiful, soft, silky and satiny dough that barely sticks to the work surface. (Don’t forget that different flours absorb liquid differently, so just feel your way).
Place in a lightly buttered glass bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for 1 hour at room temperature.
Prepare the filling :
Toss the halved and pitted plums into a bowl with a bit of sugar (see note above about quantity). Set aside to infuse.
Make the crumble topping :
Combine the flour with the sugar in a medium mixing bowl, then work the butter in with your fingers (I find it easier and more enjoyable to use softened butter for this and I like the results better) until you have worked in all the butter and have pea-sized clumps of dough. Stir in the coarsely chopped nuts and set aside.
Put it all together :
Preheat the oven to 375° F (190°C). Butter a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) baking or roasting pan.
Knock down the dough with your knuckles and put in the baking pan. Using your fingers, push out the dough to fill the pan, pushing up the sides to form a lip all around. Make sure the dough is even across the bottom of the pan.
Top the dough with the plums, cut sides up, then sprinkle with the nutty crumble topping.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the dough is risen, the edges golden brown all the way around, the fruit meltingly tender and the crumble golden.
As this is really a bread dough, not sweet at all, and the topping is not overly sweet either, all of the rich, tart flavor comes from the fruit and is really the ideal breakfast food. Cake or bread, whatever you call it, serve this delicacy with hot coffee and milk. Just slice and pass it around.