Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Plum Kuchen + Flood

This kuchen turns humble plums into majestic wonders. Like, I wonder how a plum cake can taste so darn good. Some kind of magic alchemy must happen in the oven to turn this mess of batter and fruit into a lemon yogurt kuchen sumptiously topped with melt-in-your-mouth plummy deliciousness.

And there was a flood in Louisville yesterday. Six inches of rain in 75 minutes.

Plum kuchen does sound rather plain, like something you might make at home for yourself, but not for company. Wait until you make this plum kuchen, though. If you make this for company, they will be impressed. Plus, the dessert will distract them from all the buckets collecting rain water that is coming through your ceiling.

I read about this plum kuchen recipe in Gourmet, but I don't usually try out recipes from that magazine. They can be a little fussy. However, I then read on the Smitten Kitchen blog that Deb had made this recipe, and she raved about it. Now, Deb of Smitten Kitchen is my kitchen guru. She's my go-to for guaranteed fabulous recipes. I tried to count up how many things I've made from her site in the past month--zucchini bread, soft pretzels, light wheat bread, brownie roll-out cookies, and now plum kuchen (yeah, apparently I've been hanging out in the breads and dessert section). The lady's got delicious down pat.

So, with the idea that if it's good enough for Deb, it's good enough for me, and also the intrigue of actually making a recipe from Gourmet, I set out to make this plum kuchen. I had all of the ingredients on hand. I finally unglued myself from the TV, where I spent most of the morning watching all about the flooding of Louisville (and cowering from the storm), and put down the flashlight I'd been carrying around, pointing at the ceiling to try and spot all of the new leaks and put buckets under them. Yesterday's soggy day needed a little sunshine and plum kuchen was it.

I got the batter all thrown together and let it rise for a couple of hours, during which I talked to all of the members of my family. My sister was at home with no power, my mom was trying to make her way from downtown to her house on the south side of town, where most of the streets were flooded, and my dad was trying to make it to his house from his office, where most of the streets AND THE INTERSTATE were flooded. They both took really long, circuitous routes but made it safely to their respective houses before the second storm front hit the city.

I'm pretty sure the batter rose longer than it was supposed to, what with all of the phone calls, lunch, and the harvesting of a huge crop of tomatoes from my garden between the storms. No worries, though! I just poured it into a baking dish over the plums, sugar, and butter, let it rise again, and popped it into the oven. Really, there were bigger things to worry about in this underwater town than how long the kuchen had risen.

It turned out to be such a bright spot in an otherwise dreary day. Make it whenever you need some cheering up!

My family, K, and I were really lucky to stay safe yesterday. Actually, no people suffered major injuries from the storms in Louisville, which is utterly amazing. Unfortunately, some animals died when a shelter flooded, but most of the animals there were rescued. There was also massive property damage throughout the city. The University of Louisville's downtown campus was hit hard, as was the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. I've heard estimates of at least $1 million of computers and books being destroyed at the library. So, it was hard and depressing day, but it could have been worse. I really trust in the community spirit of the people of Louisville to come together and help each other out. I love Louisville!

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