Last week, I had to deal with some unexpected (arent’t they all?) health issues, which forced me into a blog hiatus and necessary rest. It was nothing serious, but enough to stop me from baking and shooting as much. Sometimes life has funny ways of making us slow down even if it’s against our own will. I appreciate all the concerned emails wondering if something had happened or if I had gone into premature labor. All is well and just excited for the new season.
We received a big box of plums as a gift and have been enjoying them everyday. Purple, red, yellow pluots, prune plums… a beautiful assortment. It seems like every year plums mark the end of summer for me and the excitement for the new season begins.
I have been baking with muscovado sugar a lot lately. It adds a richness and moistness to cakes and cookies that is hard to get any other way. No wonder it is called “moist sugar”! And even though I have never liked sugar in my coffee, I even started putting some muscovado in my morning dose following Ashley’s advice.
The roasted plum and muscovado mini cakes are moist and rich with a touch of sour cream and lemon, but also unexpectedly light. We served these for friends during a play date on a rainy afternoon.
The coconut milk risotto is a slight variation on my arroz con leche recipe that I make all the time. It is much lighter, a bit less sweet and much faster to cook. I served it with the warm roasted plums, red currants and a sprinkle of pink peppercorns. My new favorite.
Coconut Milk Risotto
500 ml whole milk
20 grams sugar
pinch of salt
10 grams butter
60 grams arborio rice
120 grams coconut milk
In a saucepan, warm the whole milk, sugar and pinch of salt over a medium heat.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the rice to it and sautee it for about a minute. Add about half of the warm milk and stir over medium heat. Let it bring to a light simmer and then reduce the heat if necessary. Cook the rice in the milk while constantly stirring. When that milk has reduced, add a little bit more of the remaining warm milk and continue stirring. Proceed like that until all the milk has been added and the rice is cooked, which will take about 20-25 minutes. (Note that if you have added all the milk but the rice still not tender, you may add extra just to finish cooking it).
Finish the cooking process with the coconut milk. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the risotto into a bowl to chill. I like mine at room temperature but you might store it in the refrigerator.
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Juice of half an orange
musvocado sugar, some for roasting and some for sprinkling at the end
Cut the plums in half and remove the pit. Place them on a roasting dish. Add the star anise, pink peppercorn, vanilla bean, orange juice and sprinkle each half plum with muscovado sugar.
Bake the plums at 350F for about 30-40 minutes until tender.
Cut them into wedges and serve them on top of the coconut milk risotto accompanied by some red currants, muscovado sugar and pink peppercorns.
Roasted Plum and Muscavado Sugar Cakes
Makes a dozen 3 inch mini cakes
180 grams butter, room temperature
150 grams muscovado sugar
125 grams granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
180 grams sour cream
180 grams flour
4 grams baking powder
muscovado sugar for sprinkling
Cream butter, muscovado sugar, granulated sugar, lemon zest and vanilla together until light. Add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl well. Add the sour cream and mix. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until batter comes together.
Lightly butter and flour mini cake molds (I used tart rings that are 3″x1″). Pipe the batter into the molds. Place thin slices of plum on top and sprinkle with some more muscovado sugar.
Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Wait until slightly cool to unmold them.