Old-fashioned and delicious: Plum Poppyseed
Cake. Photo courtesy GoBoldWithButter.com.
Poppy seeds or plums: Which is less commonly found in baked goods?
We don’t have the answer, but our response is: Both should be used more often, starting with this delicious recipe. And don’t tarry: plums are a summer fruit.
Poppy seeds, obtained from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), have been harvested for thousands of years. The seeds are used, whole or ground, in recipes and are pressed into poppyseed oil.
Poppy seeds have long been cultivated in the Middle East; the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians farmed them. The Minoans, a Bronze Age civilization on Crete (circa 2700 to 1450 B.C.E.), cultivated poppies as a sleeping aid, and also for their effect on fertility, wealth and the magical power of invisibility. (Gee, how did those work out?) [Source]
Plums are available in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Enjoy them as a hand fruit, sliced into green salads or fruit salad, served with cheese, and of course, baked into something sweet. In addition to the recipe below, consider a plum Tatin* or a plum tart with a base of crème pâtissière.
Popular plum cultivars include:
Damson plum, with purple or black skin and green flesh
Greengage plum, firm green flesh and skin
Mirabelle plum, a flavorful dark yellow plum largely grown in northeast France, it’s a banned import†, but you can find them at farmers markets and buy trees to grow your own
Satsuma plum, with firm red flesh and red skin
Victoria plum, yellow flesh with a red or mottled skin
Yellowgage or golden plum, a yellow sibling to the greengage plum
*Tarte Tatin is a one-crust fruit pie invented by accident in France in the early 1880s. It is served upside-down; the apples are on the bottom with the crust on top. The Tatin sisters, Caroline and Stéphanie, ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, southwest of Paris in the Loire Valley, not far from the town of Chambord. Stéphanie, preparing an apple tart, erroneously put the apples in the pan without the crust underneath. The apples caramelized, the customers loved it and the Tarte Tatin was born. You can adapt this recipe for Quince Tatin.
†The ban is based no particular reason we could find, but likely has historic roots that are no longer relevant, but remain mired in bureaucracy that no one is motivated to resolve.
This recipe, by Karen of FamilyStyleFood.com for Go Bold With Butter, calls for red plums. While you can use any plum variety, red, and secondly, purple plums, provide the best color. The best color will come from a red plum with red flesh.
Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 1 hour, 30 minutes
RECIPE: RED PLUM POPPY SEED CAKE
Ingredients For 8-10 Servings
12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 firm-ripe plums, halved, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons raw or turbinado sugar
Damson plus. Photo courtesy Washington
State Fruit Commission.
1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch tube pan.
2. CREAM butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, using a heavy-duty mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the yogurt and vanilla until combined, scraping down bowl if needed.
3. WHISK together the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds in bowl. Add to the butter mixture and stir on low speed until batter is just combined.
4. SPOON the batter evenly into pan. Arrange plums over top and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until tester inserted into center comes out clean.
5. COOL the cake in the pan on a rack until completely cool. Invert onto a serving plate and slice.
6. STORE any leftover cake tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze it.