Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Plum Crazy!

Though I often moan and groan about my career, especially during the crazy, hectic days of tax season, I do love my clients. I've been in accounting long enough that I have weeded out the clients that aren't a good fit and I can pick and choose new clients.  As a result, I end up with clients whom I really enjoy.  They have become good friends, we socialize with many of them.  I have watched families grow up and am on my fourth generation with one family.  Some clients have been with me since I graduated college, 37 years now. It's been very gratifying to have formed these various relationships.

One of my favorite clients is Mary.  She reminds me so much of my beloved Grandma McGee. Whenever she comes to see me, she always brings me a homemade gift.  I've received embroidered dish towels and table runners, various jams and jellies. Earlier this year she brought me plum jam.  She was quite excited as the plums came from her tree, her first crop.  She asked if I wanted some when they were ripe.  I said yes, then promptly forgot about the conversation!  Mary didn't forget.  Last week she called to tell me that she had a box of plums for me. I drove out to see her on Friday.  There were birthday balloons scattered about and I discovered she had just celebrated her 95th birthday! 95, healthy, and she still lives in her own home!  Not only that, but she picked the plums herself!  Prior to my arrival, she had just finished mowing her back lawn. She is amazing!  When I grow up I want to be like Mary!

Armed with a box of plums I came home and got to work.  First on the agenda were a few batches of plum jam.  I will keep a few jars and give the rest away.  I used the recipe on the pectin package, that always seems to work well!

The next night I made this Plum Skillet Cake. It was a very easy dessert to put together and quite tasty!  In fact, my Hubbers and I both had some of the leftovers for breakfast the next morning! It's baked in a cast-iron skillet which helps contribute to its crispy crust and also makes a nice serving presentation.

I'm now out of plums.  Yesterday a client brought me some gorgeous figs.  Time to get busy!

Plum Skillet Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds plums, halved pitted, and sliced 1/4-inch thick

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or ovenproof baking dish, melt butter in the oven, 5 to 7 minutes.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Remove skillet from oven and add melted butter to flour mixture; stir to combine.  Add milk and vanilla extract; mix until well combined.  Pour mixture back into skillet and arrange plums evenly on top, leaving a 1-inch border.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with whipped cream, crème fraiche, or ice cream.

(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living).

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