Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunny Sunday!

Yay! I am back to my "normal" functioning self... everything is unpacked, I'm not on the verge of a mental breakdown, there's food in the fridge, and I'm restarting the healthy diet/daily jog thing.

And given the happy sunshine streaming in through the windows, I was in a relatively un-lazy mood and baked. Hooray!

I've been sitting on this recipe for a while... from the August issue of Gourmet:
Plum Kuchen
(Recipe by Ruth Cousineau)
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (preferably Greek-style) at room temperature
1 large egg, warmed in shell in warm water 5 minutes
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened, divided
3/4 lb firm-ripe plums (about 4 small), halved and pitted

Stir together yeast and warm water in mixer bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)

Add 2 cups flour, 2/3 cup sugar, salt, yogurt, egg, zest, and vanilla to yeast mixture and mix at medium-low speed 1 minute. Beat in 1 stick butter, 1 Tbsp at a time, until incorporated. Beat at medium speed until dough is smooth and shiny, about 5 minutes. (Dough will be very sticky.)

Scrape down side of bowl and sprinkle dough with remaining 2 Tbsp flour. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Spread remaining 2 Tbsp butter in bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup sugar.

Cut each plum half into 5 or 6 slices and arrange in 1 layer in pan.
Stir dough until flour is incorporated, then spread evenly over plums. Loosely cover with buttered plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until almost doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
Bake until kuchen is golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then invert and unmold onto a rack to cool completely.

Kuchen is best the day it is baked but can be kept, loosely covered, at room temperature 1 day.

Proofing the yeast was SUCH A PAIN IN THE BUTT. I tried 3 times, and couldn't get it to foam. So I just moved on... and of course my dough didn't rise, but it still turned out ok. A bit dense, but not unpalatable, especially warm out of the oven. The lemon zest was really nice in lightening up the shortbread like "cake". I would definitely try it with other stone fruits as well. But I think the plums look really pretty with the dark red skins and light flesh.
Overall, this was pretty easy to make for something so "fancy" looking. It just takes time to wait for the dough to rise - if it ever does, that is.

I also baked a familiar batch of brownies...

AND made a quicky sammich, inspired looooong ago by Reeni of Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice. I'm still dying to make her version as it is though!
12-grain bread with pesto, mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and deli cut chicken.

I got these loaves via a Foodbuzz Tastemakers opportunity... Nature's Pride. I never really have a preference for bread... I tend to just pick a loaf that is either cheap, or whatever I need for any sandwich makings. And I've never had 12-grain before... and I guess I like it!

1 comment:

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

Your plum kuchen looks perfect!! I bet it was really yummy. The sandwich sounds good too, especially with chicken. Thanks for the shout-out! Glad your getting settled in!