It’s the end of winter at our latitudes and the countryside is slowly waking up into another spring. We still have to rely on the vitamins and nutrients conserved last summer until we have the first, hopefully plentiful, crop of fresh ones in a few weeks.
Easter came quite early this year, and my family celebrated the arrival of spring with a little feast. Apart from the Breaded Pork Steaks with Potato Salad we baked Easter Wreath, a yeast-based fruit cake from last year’s garden produce.
However, in the recipe below plums can be replaced with raisins, or any other fresh or canned fruit. Here, as everywhere else on the site, I use fresh yeast to make yeasted dough. For the dried or instant alternative, it’s good to read instructions on the packet.
- 300 g flour (plain wheat can be combined with wholemeal in a desired ratio)
- 200 ml milk
- 21 g fresh yeast (or 7 g dried one)
- 50 g butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 600 g bottled plums (or 1 kg fresh ones)
- 1 sachet vanilla sugar (10 g)
- ground cinnamon to taste
- icing sugar to drizzle
- Follow these steps to prepare the leavening agent from fresh yeast.
- Slowly heat the butter over a low heat in a heatproof mug or a small saucepan. Stir all the time to prevent burning. Put aside.
- When the yeast has risen, pour it onto the flour. Add the remaining lukewarm milk and half of the melted butter. Knead by hand to make a dough of medium thickness. Cover and leave to stand in a warm place for an hour.
- Meanwhile, wash and stone the plums. If you’re using bottled or canned ones, strain them in as sieve and save the juice for drizzling.
- Grease and lightly dust a round baking dish, ideally one with a cylindrical hole in the centre.
- When the dough has risen, transfer it on a floured rolling board and roll out into a long oval shape. Pat the dough with more flour each time it starts sticking to either your fingers or the board. Spread half of the remaining melted butter over the dough and distribute the plums evenly all around it.
- Sprinkle with the vanilla sugar and the cinnamon. Roll in and carefully transfer into the baking dish.
- Bake in the oven at 180ºC for about 25 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown. Let cool after taking the cake out of the oven, and gently ease from the sides of the dish with a spatula.
- Transfer onto a large plate or a serving tray, drizzle with icing sugar and a generous amount of the plum juice.