Plum Pie

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Ok, so I’ve been feeling a bit like a large plum lately. Quite a bit like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in that scene where she blows up like a big balloon to be exact. But I suppose that’s par for the course since I’m in my fifth month now and I’m expecting not just one baby but twins! Everything has been much more amplified this time around… it has been a much more difficult pregnancy than when I was pregnant with Anna. I suppose that’s also to be expected though with two babies taking up twice as much space in there!
We had gorgeous, unseasonably warm weather this weekend and Thomas and I were able to enjoy a long walk yesterday (see the pictures below) while Anna was out with her aunt. Today Anna and I took a walk around our neighborhood to collect fall chokeberries to make colorful necklaces with and then we all headed over to a nearby playground for a bit this afternoon before a friend of Thomas’ stopped by for tea and plum pie. This plum cake recipe is one that I found in a German magazine recently and is a little bit like this plum clafoutis that I’ve made before but it’s a bit more cake-like. I think it came out really good. I hope you get the chance to try it if plums are in season where you live.

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Plum Pie

Adapted from LandLust Magazine’s Sept/Oct 2014 Issue  

Crust
2 cups Flour
4 Tbs Sugar (75g)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 stick + 1 Tbs Butter (125g)
1 large Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract or 1 packet of Vanilla Sugar

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. Cut tablespoon sized pieces of butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until only small pea sized pieces of butter remain. In a small bowl beat the egg and vanilla extract (if using) together. Pour the beaten egg over the butter-flour mixture and with a fork or a large spoon work the egg into the mixture until less crumbly and starts to come together as a dough. Make sure all of the dry flour gets incorporated into the dough and large wet crumbles form (see pictures above) it doesn’t have to come together as one solid dough but should be wet enough to start to stick together. Put a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.

Filling
1 pound (500g) Plums
about 4oz (115g) Butter Cookies (I used 20 Leibniz Butter Biscuits)
1 1/4 cups (300g) Heavy Cream
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Sugar (I used demerara = unrefined cane sugar)
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract or 1 packet of Dr. Oetker’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Wash, pit and cut the plums into quarters, if they are small like the ones I used, or smaller wedges if they are large plums. Press the chilled dough into a buttered deep dish tart pan or large pie plate. Make sure the dough comes up the sides of the pie dish and is evenly pressed into the pan (see photos above). Crumble half the cookies onto the bottom of the crust spreading them out evenly. Lay the cut plums out on top of the cookies. In another bowl whisk the heavy cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla together until well combined. Crumble the other half of the cookies evenly over the top of the plums and pour the cream/egg mixture over everything. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is golden and the middle of the pie is set and no longer wet. Let the pie cool for a bit (half an hour at least if you can wait that long) before cutting it. Serve warm or chilled. Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Rolls

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Anna was home with a cold last week and stayed home from Kindergarten for a couple of days for recovery purposes. What better way to entertain an under the weather, four going on five year old little girl than to bake with her? For some reason I was craving cinnamon rolls that day and seeing as they aren’t a popular baked good here in Germany, I don’t even know if they exist here to be perfectly frank since I’ve never seen one at a bakery, I decided we would make some at home from scratch. Well, some is an understatement. I followed my mom’s bread recipe exactly, which is what she always used when I was growing up for knotted rolls, cinnamon rolls, etc. However, I was forgetting that my mom was baking for a family of six kids back then and, well, the result was a very large batch of cinnamon rolls as you can see. Anna helped me every step of the way and had lots of fun making them, which was the most important part of the process. And oh yeah, eating them was pretty good too!

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Cinnamon Rolls

My Mom’s Bread Recipe (Cut in half)
Makes 6 very large or 12 medium sized rolls

1/2 cup of very warm Water
1 tsp of active dry Yeast
1 tsp of Sugar

In a small bowl stir the sugar and yeast into the water and let stand until foamy.

1/2 stick of melted Butter
1/2 cup of Warm Milk
1/2 cup of Sugar
1 Egg

In a large bowl stir the butter, milk, sugar and egg together well.
When the yeast is activated and foamy add it to the milk mixture.

3 – 4 1/2 cups of all purpose or bread Flour
1-2 Tbs Vegetable Oil

Add one cup of flour at a time to the wet ingredients stirring the dough together until a soft and wet but not sticky dough forms. You may need less than 3 cups and up to a full 4 cups depending on your flour and other varying conditions. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding a little more flour to the table if the dough starts to stick to the table or to your hands too much. You shouldn’t need more than 4 1/2 cups of flour all together as you don’t want the dough to get too dry. I usually knead the dough for about 5-8 minutes and add just a dusting off flour as I go if it starts to feel too sticky. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl that is at least twice the size of your dough. Turn the dough over so that it is covered in oil and cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Put the bowl in a warm place to rise and at least double in size. This should take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hours. (I put my bowl in a warmed oven to rise, with the heat turned off).

Filling
1 1/2 sticks Butter
Cinnamon
Sugar
Milk

When the dough has at least doubled in size, punch the bread down a couple of times. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) and butter and flour a large glass pan or cookie/baking sheet. On a clean, large, lightly floured surface roll the dough out into a large rectangle until it is about 1/4-1/2 cm thick. Melt the butter until it is very soft and spreadable (if it’s completely melted that’s fine but it’s easier to control if it’s still somewhat spreadable). Spread the butter all over the dough until it’s completely covered. Sprinkle the entire surface of the dough with the desired amount of cinnamon and sugar. Roll the dough from the long side if you want more narrow rolls that have less layers or from the short side if you want wider rolls that have more layers. Cut the long roll into evenly sized rounds. Place the rounds cut side up in the pan leaving room between the rolls for rising**. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for at least 20 minutes. Once the oven is preheated brush the tops of the rolls with milk or an egg wash, I used milk.  Bake for about 25-40 minutes depending on how large your rolls are. Mine took about 40 minutes until they were firm in the middle, but they were very large and spaced rather closely together. Allow to cool slightly before eating or glazing.

Glaze (optional)

1-2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract or 1 packet of Dr. Oetker’s Bourbon Vanilla
Water or Orange Juice

Start with a cup of sugar and add the vanilla and mix in enough water or juice to make a pourable glaze. If the glaze is too thin add more sugar, if it’s too thick add more water or juice. Pour over the warm rolls once they have cooled slightly.

**You can also spread the unbaked rolls out on a cookie sheet or baking tray far enough so that they won’t touch once risen and baked and come out as individual rolls. Glaze is optional but very tasty. Here are some that I made with my brother two summers ago, using my mom’s recipe, when he was here in Germany staying with us for a few months. As you can see they came out as individual rolls and were a little more dome shaped, which ended up being very practical for collecting all the sweetened glaze that we topped them with.  ;)

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