Sunday, June 3, 2012

Plum Kuchen

It was only a matter of time.  Matthew has discovered a new toy:  the blender.  Or the "Mmmmmm" as he likes to call it (after his interpretation of the sound it makes while running).  Why can't this child play with his own toys and leave his Mommy's alone?!?!?!?

We have been crazy busy moving everything into our new home.  There are still quite a few boxes hanging around, but for the most part things are starting to finally get back to normal.  I can't believe it has only been a week since we started the moving process.  I feel like I have not had a decent night's rest in weeks.  Paul and I have been staying up far past our bedtimes hammering away at various pieces of furniture, organizing the basement, applying Spackle to the walls, and searching for important items that somehow managed to disappear during the chaos of moving.  We will have some photos of our new place up as soon as most things are in order!

In the meantime, I took a break from all the business to bake a Plum Kuchen.  This was a recipe that I had been eyeing for some time on the Smitten Kitchen blog and decided to make it for the inaugural baking recipe for my new kitchen.  Plus, I had just brought home a bagful of beautifully ripe Plumcots from the grocery store!  Perfect timing!

This batter is a dream.  The scent of the lemon zest and vanilla made me want to grab a spoon and eat it right out of the mixing bowl.  But that would be gross, so I didn't.  My husband, however, did manage to lick the bowl clean.  He was apparently completely  unruffled by the fact that the raw egg might just give him salmonella.

The cake tasted great...but it didn't look so great.  As you can tell, it kind of fell apart a bit when I unmolded it.  I think this was partially due to the fact that I made my plum slices really chunky and ugly.  At least the colors were pretty!  And Matthew, Paul, and I really enjoyed the flavor of this cake.  It was refreshing and light - perfect with a scoop of ice cream.  Paul has already proclaimed that he is looking forward to gobbling down the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.  Not if I get up first!

Give it a try and I'm sure yours will turn out much better looking than mine!  It sure wouldn't take much!

Plum Kuchen
from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt, at room temperature
1 large egg, warmed in shell in warm water five minutes
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened, divided
3/4 pound firm-ripe plums (about 4 small), halved and pitted

Stir together yeast and warm water in mixer bowl and let stand until foamy, about five minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)

Add two cups flour, 2/3 cup sugar, salt, yogurt, egg, zest, and vanilla to yeast mixture and mix at medium-low speed 1 minute. Beat in one stick of the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Beat at medium speed until dough is smooth and shiny, about five minutes.  Scrape down side of bowl and sprinkle dough with remaining two tablespoons flour. Cover bowl loosely with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Spread remaining two tablespoons butter in bottom of an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Cut each plum half into five or six slices and arrange in one layer in pan.

Stir dough until flour is incorporated, then spread evenly over plums. Loosely cover with buttered plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until almost doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Bake until kuchen is golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Cool in pan five minutes, then invert and unmold onto a rack to cool completely.

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