More stone fruit abound this week at most farmers markets in the NYC metro area. Over at the Union Square Greenmarket, Locust Grove Farm had a wide variety of plums available with even more slated to come to market this week.
While driving back from a Sunday farm visit, our friend Kate talked the car through her favorite plum recipe when the conversation came up. Simple, satisfying and always successful - here it is for your testing this week.
Plum Upside Down Cake – adapted from Alice Waters
1) Melt ½ stick butter and ¾ cup brown sugar over low heat in a 9 inch round cake pan. As an option feel free to put ¼ tsp. finely minced fresh tarragon or ½ tsp. ginger juice (runoff from grated ginger) to the mixture.
2) Layer 6 ripe plums cut into ¼ inch slices on top of the now evenly spread butter/sugar mixture in the pan. Use a mix of less sweet plums like Elephant Heart, Demontforte or Santa Rosa. If using sweeter varieties like Medely or Shiro cut down the sugar by 50%. Set aside, preheat oven to 350 and mix the cake batter.
3) Mix together 1 stick butter and 1 cup sugar in an electric blender until fluffy, add in 1 tsp. vanilla extract (get the good stuff cheapass) and 2 egg yolks, reserving whites for below, one at a time.
4) Add in sifted together dry ingredients (1 ½ cup AP flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt) alternating with ½ cup half & half OR ¼ cup whole milk and ¼ cup cream. Be sure to start and end with the dry ingredients.
5) Whip 2 egg whites with ¼ tsp. cream of tartar till fairly stiff, and then fold into the batter a third at a time.
6) Pour over the plum filled pan, make it even, and then bake for 30 minutes until cake pulls slightly away.