Pity the poor plum. Often the Rodney Dangerfield of fruit, it gets no respect. Bright golden peaches and nectarines often steal the show at the height of the summer fruit season or get elbowed out by blueberries and raspberries. But let plums prance on stage for a change and give them a try. And if you’re going to give them a try, why not go past the familiar grocery store variety and experience something new and different?
When it comes to plums at Green City Market, I head to Seedling Fruit. On my visit, owner Peter Klein was offering five varieties of plums: bright Gold plums, slightly larger greenish-yellow Shiro, diminuitive yellow-red Methly and reddish-purple Majik plums, and the familiar dark purple Italian (prune) plum.
The tastes range from sweet to tart, and some are juicy, while others, like the prune plums are meaty. Rather than trying to figure out which variety to buy, you can pick up a box with a mix (while they last). Let the plums ripen on a counter or flat plate until they are aromatic and have softened. Wait to wash them until they are ready to eat or use a medley to make a tart or cake.
I’ve clipped the recipe below from the August 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. I haven’t had a chance to try it out, but the recipe sounds simple and good, so I thought I’d share:
Plum Skillet Cake
Active Time: 15 min. Total time: 1 hour
This plum-topped dessert is baked in a skillet and yields a moist, tender cake. You can also use an 8-inch cake pan.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for skillet
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for skillet
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
½ cup low-fat buttermilk
2 ripe medium plums, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Butter an 8-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably iron cast); dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt. Beat butter and ¾ cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk.
2. Pour batter into prepared skillet, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Fan plums on top, and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly.
at Green City Market
1750 N. Clark Street
(Lincoln Park at Clark and LaSalle)
7:00 am – 1:00 pm