Thursday, April 24, 2008
I love the feeling of an autumn leaf crunching under my new black boots. They are one of my most recent acquisitions and I love them, they’re perfect for keeping my feet warm and dry with the on-and-off rainy/windy weather we’ve been having here in Sydney for weeks. I don’t know if it’s just me (I think I might be cold blooded) but it feels borderline wintery already. I am trying hard to suppress the annual urge to hibernate, or at least, to stay in bed or under the hot shower a few minutes longer than I should.
What I have embraced fully, however is cold weather cooking. If you’re looking for me anytime soon I’ll be in the kitchen kneading pastry, or stirring soup, or with my hands in some warm, soapy washing up water. There are just so many new things I want to try this year; I’ve been bookmarking recipes left, right and centre. The list of things I want to cook is ever-growing, and my most difficult decision all day is what to make for dinner. There are some delicious fruits and vegetables in season at the moment, and so many techniques I’ve never tried my hand at. But I can’t tell you too much right now, you’ll have to wait and see!
I love plums; their deep colour is just gorgeous. They add a certain sexiness to the fruit bowl, I think. I haven’t cooked with them very much in the past, since they would usually just be eaten as is, leaning over the kitchen sink so as to not make puddles of juice all over the floor. However, they are just lovely in so many desserts, and I’ve come to realise the error of my ways. This afternoon I made these adorable little cakes, which were absolutely perfect, still a little warm, with a cup of white tea on a cool, cloudy afternoon.
The original recipe also included a plum semifreddo, which sounded delicious, however I served my cakes with some lightly sweetened whipped cream because I didn’t have enough time (or plums!) to make the semifreddo.
Little Plum and Brown Butter Cakes
Adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller
Makes about 8 small cakes
• 40g butter, coarsely chopped
• 2 eggs
• 130g caster sugar
• 125g plain flour
• 75g ground hazelnuts
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2-3 plums, cut into 8 pieces, with stones removed
• Whipped cream or plum semifreddo, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F) and grease a standard cupcake pan.
2. Place butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until dark golden. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
3. Combine eggs and sugar in an electric mixer and whisk for 5 minutes or until thick and pale. Add flour and hazelnuts, whisk to combine, and then fold in the cooled butter and vanilla extract.
4. Divide mixture evenly between about 8 holes of the greased cupcake pan. Lightly press two plum quarters into each little cake, skin side up.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Stand in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. Serve cakes warm or at room temperature with plum semifreddo or whipped cream.