I don’t know how about you but I’m still not ready for Autumn. Summer spoiled us here in Scotland this year, with really hot, dry and sunny days. Even now – first days of September, although cloudy and rainy, but still very warm and humid with temperatures around 15°C at night. Which is very unusual, especially here on the east coast.
I want to keep wearing my feet bare and having my eyes squint in the sun. I enjoyed extremely long days and mornings full of sun in my bathroom, when I woke up at 5.30am to go to work. These days are gone though.
And to celebrate end of Summer I decided to treat us with old good plum cake. Or a pie I shall say. When I found polish plums in a shop I knew that nothing will stop me from buying a bag. At first I wanted to eat them all just like that, and suffer for next couple hours from overeating. But then I decided to eat half fresh and make a pie with the rest. I haven’t been eating plum pie for ages, so even sugar couldn’t stop me from baking it.
I used organic whole spelt flour to make this pie/cake. I try to use organic wholemeal flour or spelt flour in my kitchen to make food more valuable in nutrients. Spelt is an ancient grain, excellent wheat flour alternative – it’s easier to digest because it’s more water-soluble. In comparison to whet flour, spelt flour has also higher contents of copper, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. Apart from that it contains all group of B vitamins, folate and vitamin E that naturally occurs in grain (not fortified in laboratory, like in most of modern flours you can find in the supermarket).
I bought polish plums – that are longer in shape and less round, with purple – yellow skin and really easy to remove stone. Simply squeeze the plum on both tops and open it – stone will come out from the fruit with no problems. But I guess you can easily use any other type of plums that are available for you. Oh I love their juicy sweetness, broken with slightly tangy flavour just under the plum’s skin.
Wholemeal spelt flour shortcrust pastry is really delicious – crumbly, nutty and rich. It’s important to prebake the crust before you put plums on top. It will allow the pastry to bake properly, so it becomes crumbly not soggy. So please don’t skip this step and bake your shortcrust first, before you add the filling. I also wouldn’t replace butter with other type of fat – like margarine. Margarine is a processed food that is designed to taste and look similar to butter. Although margarine may contain some heart-friendly nutrients, it often contains trans fat, which has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic health issues. Margarine usually also contain several food additives, including emulsifiers and colourant It’s cheaper than butter and often used in baking, but in my opinion it’s neither healthy nor tasty. And you will easily taste the difference between shortcrust pastry made with butter and with margarine.
Butter always makes everything better 🙂
rustic plum cake
NOTE: my measuring cup is regular 250ml glass
INGREDIENTS for shortcrust:
- 1 1/2 cup organic whole spelt flour
- 100g cold butter
- 4 egg yolks
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
INGREDIENTS for filling:
- about 500g plums
- 1-2 tbsp potato starch or corn starch
- 4 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 2-3 tbsp sugar
Start from separating egg yolks from egg whites. Place egg whites in a fridge, we will come back to them later.
Combine together spelt flour, pinch of salt and sugar. Add egg yolks and butter chopped in smaller pieces. Butter needs to be cold. Straight from the fridge. Using your hand quickly knead the dough, so that dry ingredients will combine well with the butter. Then make a disc like shape, place it in a plastic bag and chill in the freezer.
In the meantime thoroughly wash plums and remove stones. Chop plums in smaller pieces, sprinkle with potato starch or corn starch.
Prepare round baking tray, placing a piece of baking paper on the bottom. Preheat the oven to 170-180°C. Remove shortcrust pastry from the freezer. Cut off 1/3 and put it back to the freezer. Using rolling pin roll out the pastry to the size of the baking tray. Place it on the bottom and using your fingers fill the bottom of the tray making about 1 inch (2.5cm) edge.
Place it in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime whisk the egg whites. I used a handheld mixer. Add pinch of salt to cold egg whites and whisk until you get soft peaks. First on the slower speed to make sure no egg whites will remain on the bottom of the dish. Then on higher speed. Next add sugar – spoon by spoon. Whisk until foam will be white, shiny and peaks stiff.
Remove shortcrust from the oven. Add chopped plums, then egg whites on top. Then using a grater, grate the rest of shortcrust pastry on top.
Bake first 10 minutes in 170-180°C, then lower the heat and bake another 35 minutes in about 155°C.
Remove it from the oven and let it cool down. Although it taste amazing when still hot. Store up to 3 days in the room temperature to keep the shortcrust crumbly.