Friday, October 14, 2011

An Abundance of Plums (Four Plum Recipes)

This summer, my parents moved into the second house they've ever owned, from Edmonds, WA to Medical Lake, WA. This new house had two plum trees in the front yard, and my mom has been reminding me of that all summer. Those two (my parents) will do and say anything to get our family out to Medical Lake, so when my husband came upon a four day weekend we decided to make the five hour drive over. I began contemplating earlier in the week what I would be doing with the abundance of plums that were awaiting my arrival. Obviously I could make plum jam, but if you know me, you know that I like to do something a little different. So I came up with four things I would definitely be making:

Plum Sauce
Ina Garten's Plum Cake Tatin
Plum Butter
Dehydrated Plums

When making the plum sauce, I didn't follow a recipe, cause it's literally that easy. Wash, pit and quarter your plums. Put them in a pot over medium heat, pour about a Tablespoon of sugar over them and put the lid on. Stir every few minutes. Once the plums start to give up their juices and fall apart, blend with an immersion blender. I like to let mine simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Taste it and add more sugar if you'd like, some cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves would also be a nice addition.

We made the plum cake at Mom and Dad's that weekend, but I made the butter and dehydrated plums at home. We'll start with the plum cake. Essentially, this is an upside down plum cake. It is a fairly easy recipe, but I will warn you of one thing. When you're making the caramel, Do. Not. Take. Your. Eyes. Off. Of. It. Even. For. A. Second. Seriously, that stuff will burn quickly. I had to remake it once, and even my second batch had a slight tinge of burnt-ness to it. So, like I said, keep an eye on it. Other than that, the cake portion of this, with the lemon zest is light and fantastic. This cake is best served with a healthy scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

After we got home, I put together my plum butter and dehydrated plums. Both recipes were super easy, especially since I made the plum butter in the crock pot... For the dehydrated plums, I washed them, then quartered them and arranged them onto the dehydrator, turned it on and walked away until the next morning. That's it! Here's the website I used for direction in dehydrating my plums.

The plum butter was also quite easy. I washed and halved the plums, added them to the crock pot with some sugar and walked away for a couple of hours. Once the plums were liquid-y and falling apart, I used my immersion blender to puree everything together. I let the butter cook overnight as well. In the morning, it still looked pretty watery, so I left the lid off of the crock pot for a few hours until it thickened to the consistency I wanted (thick enough for a tooth pick to stand up in). When it was done, I added some vanilla extract. Then I canned those babies. Here's the website I used for making and canning my plum butter.

I still have a good five pounds of plums left over, but haven't decided what I'll do with them yet. I've got pear butter in the crock pot right now (they were giving them away at my CSA today because they were soft and bruised), so I don't think I'll make any more plum butter. Maybe some Chinese plum sauce... Hmmmm... We shall see! What's your favorite thing to do with plums? I'd love to hear about it!

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