I keep wanting to type ‘pudding’ instead of ‘cobbler’ for this recipe, but I don’t know why, lol. This is sort of a cakey version of a cobbler, adapted from here.
If there has been one clear benefit since working from home and thus having more time to walk around and explore my ‘hood, it’s been becoming more engaged with my surroundings and appreciating the nature that surrounds me. I feel so grateful to have easy access to small bodies of water, wildlife, and to be able to forage for pesticide-free fruits that grow on public land. I’ve already posted before about foraging for blackberries and rosehips. And those are great, but I didn’t know one can find bigger fruit! PLUMS!
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Italian plums. After finding a plum tree nearby, I learned that not only was it an Italian prune plum tree, (special thanks to Sherry from Facebook!) but that this type of plum tree is very common all over the Seattle area, usually in parking strips and as front yard trees. In fact, just the other day, I noticed a house about three blocks away with Italian plums on a tree that look like they’re ready to be picked. I stopped by there yesterday to ask if I could pick some, but they weren’t home, so I didn’t pick the fruit and decided to just buy some at the local grocery store. I still might try to ask them, maybe offer to bake something for them in return.
This recipe is very straightforward. I decreased the amount for the batter from the original recipe initially because I had less plums that I foraged, but now that I’ve baked this twice, I do like the decreased ratio of cake or dough to the fruit. And the batter looks surprisingly small before being baked, but it puffs up beautifully around the fruit. I also decided to use an orange instead of a lemon because initially when I used the much sour foraged fruit from my ‘hood, I didn’t want another ingredient that was also very sour, and so I thought the orange zest and juice would help balance out the sour with some sweet. The final minor change was just to use a combination of all-purpose with cake flour, to help keep it more “cakey” and light. I really like this version of cobbler that added the fruit on top of the doughy part. It makes the doughy part more cakey and less biscuit-like. It bakes up surprisingly balanced and is easy to put together. And even though it’s already a really good dessert by itself, if you add some good quality vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, I promise you will be in heaven. Cobbler Heaven.
italian plum cobbler
1 pound of italian prune plums, quartered and de-pitted
zest and juice from one orange
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided into two equal parts, divided use
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons demerera sugar for topping before baking (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare plums by washing them, drying them, removing their pits and cutting each of them into quarters or other small pieces if preferred. Add 1/2 of the sugar to the plums and stir to coat all the slices with sugar. Set aside.
Place the unsalted butter into a square 9″ x 9″ x 2″ pan or similarly sized pan into the hot preheated oven for about 8 minutes until all the butter is melted. Remove pan from oven.
Zest and juice one orange. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, the orange zest, and the remaining 1/2 of the sugar into a large bowl. Set aside.
In another small bowl, stir together the buttermilk with the juice from the orange and the vanilla extract then pour this mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a whisk slowly until all the flour is moistened and batter is smooth.
Pour batter evenly on top of the melted butter in the pan, but do not stir or whisk. It doesn’t need to completely cover the pan. Evenly scatter the plum slices over the batter. You could leave behind any sugar or liquid from the plums or add some of it to the top of the plums in the pan if you want to. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of Demerera sugar, if desired, on top of the fruit and batter, especially along near the edges and middle.
Bake in oven heated at 350 degree F. for about 30-33 minutes until golden in the center and brown on the edges. Remove from oven and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.