Monday, September 13, 2010

PLUM BRIOCHE CAKE

ROMANTIC INTERLUDE


Still in my mind
At the end of the day

And soft on my shoulder

Where your head gently lays

Still with me now when I think
How I loved you so

And never through changes

Other people must go

Now people may change

Changes may come

There’s so many changes but I, I, I, I


I love you still

Now I ll, I ll, I ll, I ll, I ll, I ll

I love you still

I lala lala lala
I always will


If they dried up the oceans

And they blot out the sun

And the world
was torn into pieces
I know that we`d stay as one

- Willy DeVille

23 years together. Our son rolls his eyes and makes farting noises whenever JP and I go all romantic and start talking about love, but so be it. One day he’ll understand. We celebrated 23 years of marriage, 23 years of being together, this summer and what a ride it has been. Not always easy, sometimes downright bumpy, more like a rollercoaster ride, truth be told, a ride often leaving us breathless, hearts pounding, amazed that we have survived the ups and the downs, survived every thrilling spin, every crazy loop-de-loop, every dizzying drop when the earth is pulled out from under our feet, each summit of utter bliss when we feel like we can see forever. We’ve experienced births and deaths, attended weddings and funerals, seen wonders and marvels, the hackneyed the commonplace and the downright boring. But we are together still and getting loonier, sillier and more romantic as the years fly by. We’ve created a world for two where we are King and Queen, surrounded by our little princes, an island paradise of warm breezes and sunny skies, of good food and good books, and here we are still, rather pleased to be stuck together on this island of calm in the often rough sea of life.


Friday evening we decided to have dinner at our favorite pizzeria. Once we had reserved our table, we found ourselves with enough time to swing by the fête foraine, the carnival, just up the street. Hand in hand, we strolled through, dodging children, listening in on conversations, watching the teens standing below the most daredevil of rides and screaming up at their friends who had the guts to strap themselves aboard and get themselves flung up into the air. We breathed in the wonderful carnival odors of hot popcorn, sizzling sausages and sweet cotton candy, the colors and lights and sounds making us feel like kids again. I begged JP to win a stuffed animal for me never believing that he would actually play along, but play along he did. Much to my utter surprise, he walked straight up to one stand, handed over a five-euro bill and grabbed a bow – five arrows, three in the bull’s eye and he’d win a stuffed animal! Well, no need to say that I walked away empty handed, but thrilled and laughing that he actually hit the bull’s eye once and the red ring just outside it twice. That’s my guy! Hadn’t picked up a bow and arrow for years and years! Yet caught up in the moment, he gleefully played the gallant and we walked away giggling like giddy teens.


Sunday morning we were two little piggies who went to market, basket on his arm, and picked up what he needed to whip together a succulent beef and mushroom stew and freshly-shelled white beans with garlic and parsley. I love a man in an apron and mine stood at the stove all morning, chopping, stirring, simmering. A chilled bottle of Quincy completed the lunch and, satisfied and happy, we lazed around the rest of the day watching tv and catching up on this and that, all the little things we do on weekends. Three future architects in front of three computer screens spent all weekend hard at work down in the last bedroom, at least two of whom gleefully accepted macarons (the third grudgingly) and slices of plum cake, glad to help out this baker with too many home-baked goodies on her hands and not enough hungry mouths.


Autumn is here and the market stalls are overflowing with gorgeous, fragrant plums: mirabelles and Reine Claudes (greengages), quetshes (damson, prune plum) and the tinier prune d’ente, a lovely pale red oval plum. The peaches and nectarines are still sweet and juicy, but the plums have been calling my name, begging for attention, practically throwing themselves in my path, crawling their way towards my basket, just waiting to be baked in a pie. Since my man prefers his sweets with breakfast, dunked in a hot cup of coffee, or in the afternoon with a cold glass of milk, and since my man prefers something just a tad less sugary allowing for the flavor, the sweetness of the fruit to shine through, I came up with this Plum Cake. Somewhere between a cake and a brioche, the yeast base is barely sweet, delicate and light as air, the perfect foil to highlight this wonderful fruit. As light as it is, this cake, whether prepared thick and tall using a whole recipe of dough or thin, using half a recipe, it is most definitely better eaten warm out of the oven while still fresh. And although some found it a tad dry the second day, I still thought it was perfect! So did the three young men. And we gobbled it up. And begged for more.


I am sending this over to be Yeastspotted by Susan of Wild Yeast, the Queen of all things yeast!


PLUM BRIOCHE CAKE
Gâteau de Quetsches

2 Tbs warm milk
0.21 oz - about 2 ¼ tsp (6 g) active dry yeast
2 Tbs (30 g) granulated sugar
2 cups (250 g) flour + more for kneading
1 tsp salt
7 Tbs (100 g) unsalted butter very, very soft
3 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla
14 oz (400 g) quetsches (oval purple plums)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Warm the milk for 5 to 10 seconds in the microwave. Pour the warm milk over the active dry yeast and ½ teaspoon of the sugar, which have been put together into a small bowl. Allow to proof, about 15 minutes, until there is a fairly thick head of foam.

Place the flour, the rest of the sugar and the salt in a large mixing bowl; stir to blend. Add the soft butter in cubes. When the yeast is proofed, pour it over the flour/butter in the bowl. Whisk the eggs until blended, add the vanilla and add this to the mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the dry until all of the dry has been moistened and then begin to stir vigorously until all of the butter has been well blended into the batter and no large chunks remain. You will have a very thick, very wet batter-like dough.


Generously flour a work surface and scrape the dough out onto the surface. With the help of a dough scraper, begin folding and kneading the dough, adding more flour as you work and scraping up the dough off of the table, and knead until you have a soft, silky smooth homogenous dough, adding only enough flour as needed to hold it together into a smooth dough. Knead for 6 to 10 minutes. All of the butter will have been incorporated.


Lightly grease a clean, medium-sized mixing bowl. Place the ball of dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the grease. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and then a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. It will almost be doubled.


Remove from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap (allowing enough plastic for the dough to rise and not burst out of the seams of the wrap!) and allow to rest and continue to rise in the refrigerator for 1 more hour.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the plums. Slice each plum in half lengthwise, remove and discard the pits and place the halves in a bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar. Toss the plums occasionally while waiting for the dough; this will toss and coat the fruit in the melted vanilla sugar.

Butter the bottom and sides of a regular 10-inch (26-cm) pie plate.

After one hour, remove the dough from the fridge, take out of the plastic and place on a floured work surface. If you want a thinner brioche layer simply cut into two even pieces, wrap up one half and store in the refrigerator (to use within a day or two) or the freezer. Roll out the dough into a circle just slightly larger than the circumference of your pie plate. Gently lift the dough and place it in the buttered pie plate and pat it out evenly, pressing up a slight edge all around the outside. Brush the entire surface and edges with the beaten egg. Place plum halves, cut side up, in a rosace design all around to cover the surface of the dough, snuggling them closely together, leaving the edge free. Once they are all well placed on the dough, gently press the plums down into the dough a bit. Cover the cake loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise yet again for another hour.

Before last rising (full recipe dough)

After rise (full recipe dough) and ready to be baked

At the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 410°F (210°C). Remove the plastic wrap and bake the plum cake for 25 – 30 minutes if using only half of the dough, 30 – 40 minutes if using all of the dough. Keep careful watch and remove when the cake is puffed up and the dough around the edge and between the plums is a deep golden brown and the bottom of the cake is golden evenly across.


It is better to slightly undercook this cake rather than risk overbaking – it is a very light dough, less moist and dense than a brioche, so there is always the risking of drying out if overbaked.


This is a wonderfully light, delicate cake topped with sweet, tangy plums, perfect for a snack, breakfast or brunch. Best served warm although it is also great the next day for breakfast with coffee or tea, milk or yogurt.

Thick cake with full recipe dough

Thin cake with half of the ball of dough

67 comments:

Baker Street said...

Jamie - Lovely Post! Here's to 23 years and the hundred more that are yet to follow! Cheers! :)

P.S - The brioche cake loooks yummm! :)

Joy said...

Happy 23rd anniversary! Cheers to many more years ahead and with your honeymoon-like romance in tow. :) You two are just freakin' cute, I swear.

Anh said...

omg! This cake is like a dream. Love the concept!

faithy, the baker said...

Happy anniversary!! :) Your plum cake looks wonderfully delicious!

The Cooking Ninja said...

ooh this looks fantastically lovely. Now you are making me miss my quetshes in my garden in FR. :( They are so juicy n sweet. MIL told us that this year we have an abundant of quetshes that she had to ask the neighbour to come into our garden to help themselves with it. She had already made plenty of jams with it and took a bucket full for her aunt, but there are still aplenty left on the tree. :)

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

That texture looks divine. And the colours of the plums look perfect for your romantic theme. Happy 23rd Anniversary :) That's really amazing.

Lora said...

Happy Anniversary. Wow 23 years. So inspiring! Congratulations. The cake is gorgeous and also inspired me to raid the plum tree in our backyard today. Thanks.

Urvashee@Dessarts said...

Happy Anniversary. Brioche and plums sounds absolutely delicious. I love your photos by the way!

Happy Cook said...

Wowo 23 years Jamie, Congragulations hi hi love your sons expression when you guys go all lovey dovey.
And the plum cake just looks so so yum. Love the color .

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Splendid! One of my favorite treats.

Congrats on the 23 years and may there be more more anniversaries to celebrate!

Cheers,

Rosa

A Thought For Food said...

What a beautiful post! Happy Anniversary! Your husband sounds terribly romantic. :-)

And this cake... it's just gorgeous. I've been craving plum cake recently and this is going to be the kick in the butt that I needed to make it.

Deeba PAB said...

Congrats on 23 years sistah... and I thought when I hit 15 years it was long!oot Woot for romantic Jp, bow & arrow and all. The entire post went through my head like a movie ... arms swinging with the basket included. Very Julie & Julia if I may say so {again maybe?}. We're done with stone fruit of all sorts, and your plum cake is calling my name. It's Gorgeous!

SMITH BITES said...

Happy 23rd Anniversary Jamie! It is such a delight to read about couples who are still so much in love after spending 23 years together, that the honeymoon isn't over after children and life have happened. My Professor and I have been married almost 13 years and I love him more, am IN love with him more today than I've ever been. And the cake? Wow, that cake is lovely indeed!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Happy anniversary! I had my 23rd in June and have sons the same age! Cake is gorgeous...thanks for sharing!

Jamie said...

@Margaret! Yay! Happy anniversary and that is some coincidence!

Barbara said...

Congratulations on 23 years Jamie. The Plum Brioche looks delicious. I made something similar recently but with dark chocolate squares on the top. Sadly, I turned the oven to grill bake and burnt the top.

Jamie said...

@Barbara - Oh no!! That burned cake must've hurt! But the addition of chocolate sounds great!

my little expat kitchen said...

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! 23 years... that is amazing. 23 years and to still be in love... that is even more amazing...
Your plum cake looks like the perfect one for such an occasion.
Happy to have found your blog Jamie.
Magda

Jamie said...

@Magda (my little expat kitchen) - Welcome! And thanks!

Hungry Rabbit said...

L'amore, l'more ... what a divinely beautiful cake. The color of the plum looks like rose pedals.

Sara said...

Happy 23rd Anniversary!!! I love your style of writing, it makes me feel nostalgic! You are a wonderful writer! And a great cook! plum brioche cake looks divine, I will have to try it even though I suck at baking..:)

Asha @ FSK said...

A cake with yeast!!! It has my name on it!! I love that it is baked in a pie pan.. what an idea Jamie!! Weekend project ;-)))

elra said...

Happy happy happy anniversary Jaime, and many many more years to come ....

I love plum, I love brioche, what a great combination they are.

Sasa said...

Wiping a tear from my eye surreptitiously...Beautiful tribute to your love, congratulations.

My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

What a wonderful combination. Just lovely.
Happy anniversary!

Sophie said...

Happy 32th Wedding Anniversary to you & your hubby!!

This is a real time for a good celebration!!

Your plum brioche cake looks quite fabulous!!

Jamie said...

@Sophie! Thanks so much - but it's 23 not 32 years! Oy don't rush me! :-)

Lora @cakeduchess said...

Happy 23 years together!!! That cake looks fantastic!I can't wait to try:)Maybe today?I just bought some plums;) xx

RamblingTart said...

Happy Anniversary, dear Jamie! :-) I'm so glad you have a good man to weather this life with, and love this beautiful cake and your descriptions of a happy, cozy weekend at home. :-)

Su-yin said...

Happy 23rd Anniversary, Jamie. Here's to a great many more for you two. :)

The cake looks great, I've been cooking with plums a lot too - it's too hard to resist when they're everywhere!

Hazel said...

Absolutely beautiful. I just adore the colours that the plums produce when they are baked.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Ah I remember now you saying about going out for the pizza! This cake looks so colourful and your photos are looking super.

Marisa said...

Lovely memories - thanks for sharing!

And congrats on 23 years of love, laughter & life.

Percy. said...

Congratulations!

Eliana said...

What an amazing post! Congratulations on 23 years of marriage. I just got married last year and hope to follow in your footsteps.

Koek! said...

What an inspiring post... but then, love is always inspiring. I'm getting married to my partner of 7 years next year, and I can't wait. Hope I will look back in 23 three years and feel the same (I'm sure I will).
Robyn x

Mary said...

What a lovely cake, Jamie. The cake is almost as lovely as the days you have described for us. It was an altogether satisfying post that carried your unique stamp on it. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

George@CulinaryTravels said...

Another lovely post Jamie. I love your writing style and I'm sorry I never seem to get round to commenting here more often :(

Happy 23rd anniversary and here's to many happy more years ahead.
x

PS gorgeous cake

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle said...

Congrats to you and JP; today it's quite an accomplishment for couples to stay the course so I'm proud of you!

Lovely cake too; I had never used plums in baking til about three years ago. Obviously I seriously did not know what I was missing! Next time we Skype we need to figure out how to share your baked goods!

Jamie said...

@George! Thanks so very much dear! And I don't visit you as much as I'd like or should!

Jamie said...

@Barbara@VinoLuci - Try turning on your video when we skype and I'll push a slice of cake through. I'm sure it'll work.

Radhika said...

Hi Jamie,

Happy Anniversary! Wishing you many more years of love and togetherness. As every time your writing, vintage pictures and your recipe fascinates me. Love being here. Thanks for the inspiration.

Best,
Radhika

asiangrrl said...

Happy anniversary, Jamie. I love stories about you and JP because you reinforce my wavering belief that there can be goofy (and I mean that in the best sense of the word) relationships that work. And, because JP is kinda like me, which means, mebbe I can find someone kinda like you! And the brioche? To. Die. For.

Heavenly Housewife said...

A fabulous autumnal desert! Pass me a slice daaaahling, so I can help you celebrate your anniversary (cause no celebration is complete sans Moi, ya know?).
*kisses* HH

Sippity Sup said...

Congratulation. Plums mark the day so well! I was with an inch of coming to France next week for a wine thing and had hope to meet you! But it did not work out at the last minute. Bummed. GREG

Jamie said...

@asiangrrl (Minna): That's absolutely the nicest, most touching thing anyone has ever said to me! xo

@HeavneyH: Oh absolutely, dahling! You are most definitely the life of the pah-ty! bisous xox

@sippitysup: oh bummed and double bummed!Do let me know when it does happen!

MeetaK said...

give yourself a pat on the back saucy!! 23 years and counting WOW! but you and JP are made for each other. this post just reinstates it. love love reading it! and the plum brioche cake is awesome. i've made one like this from the dorie greenspan book - should make it again and post about it!

Jamie said...

@Meeta - Yes we are and it is my Sauciness that he loves the best!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

23 years-here here Jamie! And him winning you a prize is lovely-although I'm sure he knows that he truly lucked out with the prize ;)

Jamie said...

@Lorraine - I keep telling him the same thing! Lucky man, indeed ;-)

Sanjeeta kk said...

Lovely clicks! The cake looks gorgeous, perfect texture. Congrats for the anniversary!

lindentea said...

What a lovely post, happy anniversary! The cake looks so good, so good in fact that the dough is now resting in the fridge as I type, I think I'll be making two thin cakes. Will let you know how they turn out.

simpledaisy said...

Your blog is amazing!! I love your photography!

Barbara Bakes said...

I've never had a plum call to me, but after seeing your gorgeous cake I'm sure they'll start.

Tracy said...

Happy anniversary!! This cake looks like the perfect way to celebrate!

Jasmine said...

Jamie, happy anniversary, congrats! :)
By the way, the cake is gorgeous, I might like to try something like that in the weekend, I'll definitly keep it in mind for sunday-morning-baking :)
Cheers!
Jasmine

lisaiscooking said...

I love a dessert that's all about the fruit! This looks delicious, and I can't wait to get my hands on some plums.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Happy Anniversary Jamie. That's fantastic. Your cake is gorgeous as are all of your desserts.
Sam

take in paris said...

Cheers for the 23 amazing years! Love the cake and the poetry... They are beautiful!

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

5 Star Foodie said...

Happy 23rd anniversary! This fantastic cake is such a perfect way to celebrate!

El said...

Happy anniversary. Here's to 23 more. The cake is a perfect way to celebrate. Just beautiful.

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

23 years?! Holy moly!! That's a truly impressive achievement - congratulations to you both! Love the plum cake (and the napkins ;-)) - they remain one of my favourite stone fruits.

lindentea said...

The cake turned out so well, I followed the recipe exactly and it was so good, I posted itin my blog. Thank you so much for sharing.

lindentea said...

Thank you for your kind words in my blog Jamie, it's such a good recipe, I'll be making it every fall with fresh plums for sure, my mother tried and loved it too, she made it for Yom Kippur for the break the fast meal. Thanks again.

Nandita said...

Hearty congratulations on 23 years of togetherness-wishing you many more to come.
This cake is the prettiest one I have seen in a long time and a bread/cake rolled into one with such pretty fruit-we never get good sweet plums here-so wondering with what I'll make these!

Lena said...

Thanks for posting this recipe. But I don't quite understand the yeast amount given. I probably misread your post, but does it actually say: "2.1 ounces of yeast"? The amount of yeast (6g) given next to this ambiguous one is probably the correct one.

Jamie said...

@Lena - Thanks for catching my typo! Whew! I guess everyone who tried this recipe and was successful used one of the other measures for the dry yeast. It has been corrected: 6 grams = 0.21 oz = @2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast.

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