I wonder why each autumn that I can remember feels so very distinctively familiar, I mean, there’s this autumn feeling that each year comes unfailingly with the changing of the weather, the light and the air. Here in St Pete it usually arrives with the calendar autumn – when the Russian children go to school. So for lots of my friends here too the early autumn has this particular … flavour that is just stuck into your brains. New textbooks and pens, a new timetable, meeting with your classmates again, mingled with fresh mornings and walking (or running) to school in the mist. Even when school years seem quite a long time ago, these sensations visit you every autumn. Especially when your job consists of recruiting high school kids for undergraduate programs .)
We’ve gone to dacha this weekend and the feeling there is completely autumnal. It’s situated more to the North, closer to the Lake Ladoga. I’ve collected the last apples and even the second “harvest” of… strawberries! Just about 6 berries but what a surprise – these were actually sweet unlike most of our fruit grown there. This summer gave us just a basketful of apples (delicious though quite sour as usual, photos coming soon) and lots of berries and plums.
The plum harvest was not that big but it inspired me to bake something with the fruits of the season and share the recipes with you. Been meaning that for weeks – but thanks god my new job keeps me busy! So here we go – starting from how they deal with plums in Italy:
A year ago – Shangi, Pies from the North and Urals (introducing Shangi with Potatoes, hmmm, I want to make them again!)
Italian Plum Upside Down Cake adapted from www.bakingdom.com will make a soft coffeecake with a sugary topping – I assure you the taste will not be affected if you get a bit lazy with arranging your plums!
Go to the original website to see the entire recipe. Here are just some changes that I’ve made:
For the topping I used red currant jam and lots of super-tiny plums (yellow and red – see the cute yellow specks in the photos) which were not that pretty to eat raw anyway. I didn’t get artsy at all, so my topping looked rather rustic =)
For the cake batter I used apple juice instead of milk + added ginger for extra flavour.
Remarks: Actually I was really lazy and used just one skillet for everything – from making the topping ‘syrup’ to baking. BUT! should you do the same, choose a medium not very shallow skillet because baking in a smaller one resulted in some of the juices escaping to the bottom of the oven (brr!) and the sugar not dissolving 100%.
Result: Gosh, I need to make my brains work to recall… Ok, I remember the cake was super soft and the topping was tangy but sweet. And apparently it was a very cute cake even with this not very ordered plum top layer 😉 But, well, that was an upside-down cake so there’s always a bit of a mess with them!
Now let’s move to a not very far away – geographically speaking – dessert, an Austrian take on how to benefit from juicy plums!
Viennese Plum Cake adapted from www.mykitchensnippets.com will make a perfect early autumn sweet treat – flavourful plum pie / bars with sugary topping.
Changes: Added some red currant jam along with the butter; used a variety of plums and increased their amount.
The procedure is easy, see the link above for the original recipe. Paper highly recommended when baking! The juices are threatening to escape the pan so be careful.
Result: Ah those Viennese people, they truly know something about sweets! =) Actually I missed the chance to try these, as I had to leave my parents’ place before tea :). So I can only share with you my parents’ opinion.
It’s my Granny’s b-day today, I’ve baked a red & black currant cake with orange crumble topping (which was supposed to be with raspberries and lemons – this one from annies-eats.com actually : ). As I’m having less time for my blog, I though about making a sort of digest of what I bake throughout the week, but I guess I will hardly manage to do that either.
Will come back with more autumnal recipes – and hopefully something curious from my upcoming job trips!