My boyfriend Erlend and I are lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where there are three local, artisan supermarkets within 10 minutes of walking distance in either direction. Supermarkets like Whole Foods, but almost everything in the store is from within a hundred mile radius of the city or the Northwest. It's a locavore's dream.
Erlend has a fondness for fall fruit -- specifically, apples. New Seasons, one of the supermarkets around us, currently carries an incredible variety of apples. Some of which I've never even heard of -- Mutsu (which tastes like vanilla), Orleans Reinette, Ashmead Kernel... the list goes on. My favorite is the Pink Pearl: tiny apples with a yellow-green skin and a surprising bright pink inside.
Me, personally, I'm more of a plum girl than an apple one. I was sad to see summer's fruitful plum season go. So I was surprised when Erlend came home with a bag of "fall plums" -- beautiful maroon and indigo varieties that New Seasons claimed to be the final batch of the season. I was initially skeptical, but after slicing one open, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with the juicy, bright orange yellow that reminded me of summer's plums.
And so I decided to make this stone fruit tea cake filled with fall plums:
In the spirit of local, I used a recipe from the cookbook of a local bakery, Baker & Spice. My coworker Alanna once brought in a marionberry tea cake of theirs to the office that was so delicious that I nearly knocked my other coworkers out of the way to get seconds. She came back the next day and lent me their cookbook. Thanks Alanna!
What makes this cake so delicious is that it uses a shortbread-style dough to enclose the fruit. The dough is not overly sweet, and instead, just provides the perfect buttery compliment to the fruit's natural sweetness. Use any stone fruit (like plums, peaches, apricots) that's in season, or, just use berries. It'll be delicious eitherway.
Stone Fruit Tea Cake
(Adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts)
For the Stone Fruit Tea Cake:
(makes one 10-inch pan, enough for 10 - 12 people)
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped mixed stone fruit
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
For the Stone Fruit Tea Cake:
- Whisk 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl.
- Using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup butter together on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, or, until light and fluffy.
- Add 3 eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
- Add the flour mixture (from the first step) and use a rubber spatula to stir until a smooth dough forms.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten into a 1-inch thick disk, and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 (F). Butter (or, use cooking spray) a shallow 10-inch round baking pan or tart pan.
- Divide the dough into two equal portions and pat one portion evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Spread 2 1/2 cups of fruit evenly over the dough.
- Break the remainder of the dough into tablespoon-sized pieces (I used a 1-tablespoon sized cookie scoop for this part) and distribute atop the fruit.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar over the dessert.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly golden and firm. Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before serving.