Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Almond Plum Cobbler at the Couleur Café - Cooking Up the Radio Dial (Part 2)

Dish: Almond Plum Cobbler
Station: 90.3 FM Espace Musique
Music Genre: Jazz, Classical, Salsa, Reggae and Pop Music

Canada is a country with two official languages, English and French. So when I started this cooking/radio experiment I knew I would eventually come across an all French radio station. I just didn’t think it would be the second week. Actually it should have been the first week as I somehow missed it on my radio travels last week! To be honest I was going to skip it and just keep cruising up the dial because I non parlez vous francais…eh! But I sucked it up and left the dial on 90.3 FM as I began to prepare my almond plum cobbler.

This is a dessert I used to enjoy when I was a kid. I had forgotten about it until my mom mentioned it to me a couple years ago. I’ve expanded on the original recipe by infusing more flavors into the cake. It’s still super easy to make.

As I was prepping the cake batter I listened to jazz, classical music and a few less than stellar French pop songs. There seemed to be no set genre for this station. I was surrounded by music but it wasn’t adding much to my cooking experience. Then one song changed everything. It was a tune called “Couleur Café” performed by a musical artist named Lyne Trembley. There was something so relaxing yet uplifting about this song. I felt like I had been transported from my kitchen to a quaint French café. It was the escape I was looking for! This song and a reggae song played later would have prompted me to give this cooking experience 3 song notes out of five. Unfortunatly I had to drop it to 2 and a half because the radio announcer talked after every single song and her voice brought my wonderful escape to an end. Oh well…c’est la vie!

Almond-Plum Cobbler

2 cups fresh tart plums, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup plus 2 tsp granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp each salt and ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ tsp almond extract
2 eggs
¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds

Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Add plums and 2 tsp sugar. Toss to coat plums and arrange, skin sides down, in a single layer along the bottom of dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and remaining ½ cup sugar using an electric mixer. Add lemon juice and almond extract. Continue beating until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour-mixture mixing on low speed until batter is smooth.

Using a spoon that’s been coated with cooking spray, evenly drop mounds of batter atop plums. Gently spread batter with the back of the spoon to cover the plums. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top.

Bake in a 375º F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and cake pulls away from sides of baking dish. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve as is or with a dollop of frozen vanilla yogurt.

Volume: Makes 9 servings

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