Prune Plum and Pistachio Cake
Italian Prune Plums have a unique flavor when eaten raw, but they are most spectacular when baked. That’s when the color becomes brilliant and the fruit becomes jammy and the flavor intensifies. The small egg-shaped purple plums are hard to find in Maine and are only available in my neck of the woods for a few weeks in September. I usually find them at the Farmer’s Market and at the local grocery story. I love to turn them into prune plum sorbet or caramelize them and serve them in prune plum tart. I also love to add them to a simple coffee cake. There is one coffee cake recipe for prune plums that almost everyone knows and loves. You can find it In The Essential New York Times Cookbook. It is Marian Burros’ Purple Plum Torte recipe first published in 1983. The recipe is so simple and so good that many chefs have tweaked it slightly and then called the cake by a different name. Jody Adams, in her book: In the Hands of a Chef added a few twists to the recipe. She marinated the prune plums in brandy and sugar and she added lemon rind to the dough. She also added chopped, toasted walnuts. I like Jody’s enhancements but I wanted to add my own twist and substituted pistachios for walnuts. I think just about any toasted nut will work in this recipe so choose the one that most delights you. I also want to put in a plug for the Goldtouch non-stick spring form pan that I use whenever I make this recipe. The Goldtouch pan (which you can buy at Williams-Sonoma) is sturdy, beautifully made and you will never have to bother prepping the pan with butter and flour.