Thursday, August 31, 2006

Homegrown Plum Coffee Cake

When I was little I remember picking grapes, cherries, apples, and pears in the northwest corner of my parents' front yard. My mother had a grape arbor and an orchard. I remember it being a fun place to play but even more memorable was that it was an awful place to mow. I would take the tractor and drive around and around and around...nearly losing my head with each swipe. I never really appreciated the fruit that came from the trees. We made a few pies and tarts, but mostly we ate the fruit straight and threw the pits as far as we could into the pasture. The fruit was good but it was more of a novelty. We'd look for the largest juiciest specimens and eat them up. The rest were mostly attacked by the birds or taken over by worms.
Back then it didn't seem like those trees produced all that much fruit. So, it took me by surprise when I saw them recently. They were the breaking point...literally. I guess I remember Mom mentioning that she'd had to prop up branches to save them from breaking under the weight of all the fruit. But, I couldn't imagine there being that much fruit. Over the years I've come to appreciate those fruit trees a bit more...actually I'm a bit jealous of the variety and availability of fruit that she has all summer and fall. Nothing is more satisfying than eating and baking with produce that you have grown and harvested with your own two hands. I know how much joy my little tomato and pepper plants bring to me and barely get enough for a meal from them. So, I can only imagine how it must feel to grow an entire orchard full of sweet juicy fruit. Good work mom!
Here I've made Plum Coffee Cake using 10 of mom's fresh plums. It turned out very yummy...although I think I might even prefer it without the topping. The cake was good enough on it's own. Find the recipe here.

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