Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dinner on the Delaware and a Plum Cake “Tatin” recipe

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We’re lucky enough to have friends with a boat, who occasionally invite us for a short “cruise” down the Delaware River south of Trenton. Now before you start thinking that it’s a busy, polluted industrial waterway, think again. It’s the best kept secret around – lovely green vistas on either side, calm waters and practically no other boat traffic on this most recent ride. Occasionally, a boat zipped by or anchored while its occupants took a dip to cool off, but mostly it was just us for the entire stretch.

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By us, I mean Ellen and Al, owner of the boat named “Beyond the Bar” (he’s a lawyer hence the name) and another couple of good friends, Lilli and Bob.

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At a certain point we anchored too, but rather than swim, we ate. The ladies shared the food preparation – and believe me, these women can cook. My contribution was the zucchini and goat cheese bruschetta I blogged about recently, and the fig, brie and prosciutto appetizer that “Proud Italian Cook” posted a while ago (Thanks Marie – they loved it). Lilli prepared a savory peperonata and a green bean salad, while Ellen brought salmon with a creme fraiche and wasabi sauce. Here’s what our dinner plates looked like (sorry, I have no photos of the appetizers):

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Everything was delicious, but I’ll leave you with only one recipe.  Lilli promises to get me the peperonata recipe at a future date. For now, here’s the plum cake “tatin” recipe (also prepared by Ellen) from one of Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa” cookbooks -  I could have eaten the entire thing. It was lip-smacking yummy and almost as pretty to look at as the sunset we watched heading back to the dock.

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Plum Cake “Tatin”


  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
  • 10 to 12 purple "prune" plums, cut in half and pitted
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the plums in the dish, cut side down.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don't stir. Pour evenly over the plums.

Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the plums and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If a plum sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners' sugar.


  1. What a lovely day you had.
    Food and friends look terrific!

  2. That sounds like the perfect day to me, just cruising along enjoying good friends and food. Your plate is a bounty of goodness!! The tatin is gorgeous, I have no doubt is was delicious.!

  3. nothing beats a day with good friends and good food..
    gorgeous plum cake, by the way.

  4. Wow Linda, that sounds like a fab day. What wonderful friends you have to invite you too!!

    It looks so great :-)

  5. lovely day and the sunset looks so serene....

  6. oh my! What a beautiful spread of food....and such lovely sights. The sunset is absolutely gorgeous!

  7. What a great way to spend the day. Good friends, good food and a gorgeous view. You're so photogenic in every picture Linda! So glad you enjoyed the app's!

  8. Delicious looking food and beautiful pictures!

  9. That is a gorgeous sunset! Sounds like such a fun time! The plum cake tatin looks super delicious!

  10. A gentle boat ride down the river is so relaxing. It looks like a lot of fun amd lots of good food! marie's fig appetizer is amazing isn't it? I use fontina cheese wehn I amke mine as my husband prefers that to brie.

    The plum tatin recipe looks super easy to amke and a wonderful summer dessert...I could se eti amde with many stone fruits.
    Copying down the recipe! Thanks!

  11. That sunset photo is divine. And I love ANY "tatin":) Plum sounds lovely.

  12. Good food and good friends. What could be better??

  13. clicca qui....clicca lì...
    non ho capito tutto di quello scritto...purtroppo il mio inglese è moooolto limitato!!!
    ma la ricetta è da copiare!!

    un sorriso :)