The beautiful plum and its irresistible juiciness makes it the perfect fruit to create a wonderful jam or dropping it into a dough for a perfect ending…
When the plums ripened in the late summer at my grandparent’s orchard in Croatia…life around the house became very busy. Every morning the maids had to go and pick up all the plums that had fallen off the trees and gathered them in large buckets. Then my grandfather hired men from the village to set up the still just outside the barn and the process of making Slivovic was started. Sliva is the word for plum in Croatian and Slivovic is the brandy that comes from plums.
I cannot describe the process of making Slivovic, all I remember I was watching the men sitting around this contraption (the still) talking and tasting the drops that came out of a small tube/hose at the bottom of the barrel. One afternoon I found all four of the men snoozing in their chairs. I gathered up my courage to taste the next drop that was hovering at the end of the tube to drop into the container below. I put my finger under the drop and when it fell onto my finger I stuck it into my mouth and to my horror it had a terrible flavor. At this point one of the men woke up and I had just enough time to escape his reaching hand that was going to let me know that I was not to be where I was.
I was about 6 or 7 years old….
You see, my grandfather had an Inn that was a part of the big house called Bela Villa.
And while the Sliovic was brewing, my grandmother was busy making a Plum Cake – Pita od Slive, but not just one, she usually made several cakes to be sold as dessert at the Inn.
Here is my version of a Plum Cake which is translated from my mother’s recipe.
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 to 2 lemons – depending on the size of the lemons
1 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup milk
2 lbs of any kind of Plums
Set the oven at 350 F
Prepare a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, by greasing and dusting it with flour.
Remove the stones from the plums by cutting them in half and slice each half into 2 quarters.
With an electric mixer or hand mixer beat the butter and sugar until very light in color, and very fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the zest of the lemons
and Vanilla. Mix the flour with the baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter, sugar and eggs alternating with the milk. Mix well until it becomes a smooth, soft dough. Transfer the dough to the tart pan and smooth it with a spatula.
Add the cut plum sections, skin down, on to the dough.
Bake the cake at 350 F for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cake on a rack completely then transfer it onto a serving platter.
Serve with softly whipped heavy cream sweetened with powdered sugar before serving.
Or… just dust it with powdered sugar and serve it with Coffee or Tea!
Everyone loves this cake in my family especially with a big serving of ice cream!
Do you have a Plum Cake or Tart recipe?
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