Sometimes I think that I just love the Donna Hay books and magazines because of the amazing design and photos. Then, I get around to actually making a recipe, and all that design stuff? Really quite irrelavent. Because the recipes can stand on their own, no problem. Like this recent discovery from the New Food Fast cookbook, Blood Plum Tarts.
First off, it's a great use of plums (or really any smallish stone fruit) which is good for me because even after making almost 8 cups of spicy sweet and sour plum sauce, I still have a lot of plums to use.
Secondly, it's really quick, easy and impressive looking. The only fiddley part is trying to remove the stones from the plums and leave them with the cute little X cut out, and as it turns out, that's not all that hard. Even if you slice too deeply, when the plum is tucked into the batter, no one will be the wiser.
Best of all, as the plum bakes it oozes just a little of its juice into the financier-like cake around it. This is simply a fantastic recipe, and I do hope that you give it a try. It's so good that I didn't even change anything in it!
Ok. I did change one thing. The name. I'm sure that the almond-cakey batter could be considered a crust and in some world these might be called tarts. But not in mine. Tarts should be flat, covered with lovely toppings. I could see calling them puddings, cakes, baked little ramekins of deliciousness... but tarts? Sorry. That's just not right.
Baked Plum Pudding
from New Food Fast, Donna Hay, p 110
4oz unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup baker's sugar
1 t vanilla
3/4 cup almond flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Remove the pits from the plums by making a small X on the top. You may need to cut one side more than the other to pull out the stone.
Blend the butter and sugar together in a mixer with the paddle attachment, until it is light in color and creamy. Add everything else but the plums until just combined.
Create a little perch for the plums by putting about 1 T of the batter in the bottom of each of 4 ramekins. Then, stick the plum in the batter, with the X side up. Spoon the rest of the batter around each of the plums, leaving at least 1/2 inch of the plum showing. Use a small rubber spatula to smooth out the batter, and clean up the edges of the ramekin.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cake has puffed and is lightly golden.
Best served while warm (but warn everyone... the juices of the plums get REALLY hot). But, I also still liked them when they had cooled, as the juice seeped even more into the cake.
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Lara Ferroni is a former tech geek turned food geek who spends her days exploring the food culture of the Pacific Northwest. As a food writer and photographer, you might spy her learning to make kim chee in the back rooms of a local church, foraging for wild berries, or snapping away in the some of the Seattle and Portland's finest kitchens. You can find her work in publications such as Epicurious.com, Gourmet.com, Edible Communities (Seattle, San Francisco), Seattle Magazine, Seattle Metropolitan as well as numerous cookbooks, including Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home.