Eureka Farm grows a lot of plums. We must have up to 500 trees. Most of our plums are blood plums meaning the flesh is red. The first plums we used to grow were Santa Rosa followed by a variety called Frontier. We later removed our Santa Rosa trees as production was fickle possibly due to the often inclement spring weather conditions and the trees tendency to vegetative growth making them difficult to pick as they reached for the sky every year after pruning. Frontier is a black skinned fruit which generally requires successive picks, Frontier is followed by Red Heart , Mariposa and lastly Satsuma. There are endless varieties of plums and I believe most of what we grow are the Japanese descent.
Most Tasmanian’s who have a garden are able to grow plums. They are very tolerant to cold snaps and reasonable tolerant to brown rot the scourge of stonefruit. This means than local sales can be limited due to a plentiful supply elsewhere.
Over the years we developed a number of plum recipes. My original intention was to develop a blood plum fruit wine. The difficulty I had was with the acid levels of the fruit compared with grape wines. The sugar levels were also low as plums won’t stay on the tree at the same levels as grapes. I gave up on the fruit wine after a number of years. Whilst I still believed it is possible with modern technology to make a good fruit wine I sort of gave up drinking much wine myself. But that is another story.
We have however had some successes in value adding. No doubt the most successful recipe we have developed is our Worcestershire Sauce which is based on a Tasmanian recipe which we modified. It uses lots of plums and is completely different to the original Worcestershire Sauce which is based on anchovies. Our sauce is very thick with peppercorns and cloves being the main spice ingredients.
This year we didn’t have as much plums as previous years due to the drought. But still plenty to satisfy the market and our vaulue adding exercises.
Lately though I have been looking at cakes which use plums. One cake that I have loved making is an Upside Down Plum Cake. The recipe is attached.
- 6 to 8 plums, number depends on size
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cupself raising flour flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Use a paring knife to cut the plums in half through the center, twist and separate. Remove the pits. If the pits don’t come out with ease, use your paring knife to cut them out. Set aside.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar to cover the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Dot 2 tablespoons of the butter over the brown sugar. Set the pan directly on a burner of your stove over low heat. Allow the butter and sugar to melt together, swirling occasionally so nothing burns. You want the butter/sugar mixture distributed evenly over the bottom of the pan. Use a spatula to help spread the mixture, if needed.
- Place the plums cut-side-down into the cake pan so the fruits are touching. Start with the outside perimeter of that pan and work your way to the center. Set aside.
- Put the flour, almond flour, in a medium bowl. Stir with a fork and set aside.
- Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until thoroughly blended. Add the milk and vanilla and mix again. If the batter is a little curdled looking, don’t worry.
- Add the flour mixture and to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix together into a creamy, smooth batter.
- Pour the batter over the plums. Set in the oven with a baking sheet beneath to catch any plum juices that may spill over.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan, at least an hour.
- To remove cake, set a plate large enough to cover the pan on top. Flip the plate over so the cake inverts onto it. Lift off the cake pan.
We serve our cake with icecream and cream. People love it especially when the sugar has partly caramelized around the plums. I am now looking at making a plum Crostata. very popular in Italy. Will let you know how I go.
(modified recipe from Mum’s KItchen Handbook https://www.momskitchenhandbook.com/recipes/upside-down-plum-cake/)