Last week I went grocery shopping. (How exciting is that?) I stopped by the plastic bags dispenser and grabbed two handful of bags, anticipating to fill up my cart with a bounty of fruits. To my surprise, there were no peaches, no nectarines, no plums, no pluots, no… no summer fruits in sight—No summer fruits! (OK, there were grapes.) I slightly panicked.
Two days later, full of optimism, I went shopping again, but to another store on a hunt after some summer fruits. I found nothing. So I had to interrogate the produce guys about the whereabouts of the fruits.
“You got no peaches”?”
“Nope, no nectarines.”
“Reeeally??? What about pluots?”
“Oh, we might have pluots. Let me check in the back.”
And then he returned with a case of wonderful, red, flowery smelling pluots. I almost bounced with joy—but I didn’t—and I bought 6 lbs.!
Now, what do I do with 6 lbs. of pluots?
Luckily, the day before I stumbled upon Melissa Clark’s Plum Polenta Upside Down Cake. I used nearly 2 lbs. of pluots for my cake.
2 individual pluots made it into the fridge—they softened/over ripened so quickly—and the rest I used to make ice cream. Mmm…
I hope that wherever it is that you live you can still enjoy summer fruit. As for me, I am mentally preparing myself for a few good months of pears, apples, and oranges. Clementines too. They’re nice, I like them, but it’s just not the same thing, you know…
Pluot Polenta Upside Down Cake
Slightly adapted from Melissa Clark: I used less sugar for cooking the fruit and I added thyme and salt. (I know I was tempted to grind some black pepper too but I’m not sure if I did it or not.)
Makes a 9-inch cake, 10-12 servings
1 3/4 pounds pluots, rinsed, pitted, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 1/4 cups sugar
2-4 thyme sprigs
Pinch of salt
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream or ice cream for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9-inch springform pan* with parchment paper and grease the parchment and pan well (I like to use butter).
Cook the pluots and 1/4 cup sugar in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the pluots are tender and most (but not all) of the liquid has reduced, about 20 minutes. Scrape the pluots mixture into the prepared cake pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one a time and beat to combine. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients, using a spatula.
Spread the batter on top of the pluots and smooth with a spatula.
Bake until the cake is golden and springs back when touched lightly, 45 to 50 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and release the sides. Invert onto a plate.
Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
NOTE: I know that my springform pan leaks so, to make cleanup easier, I wrap it with foil and place it on a baking sheet.