Savoring the Seasons: Treats to try during plum season

  • Before plum season escapes us, try two recipes for these purple favorites in today’s column. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

For The Recorder
Published: 9/26/2017 10:34:14 AM

When I was growing up in California, we lived in what was then called the Santa Clara Valley. It was known for its many fruit orchards and, for decades, people would visit the area during fruit tree blossoming time. Mostly, I remember that there were peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums. The city of Santa Clara prided itself on being the “prune capitol of the world” since many of the plums grown there were dried into prunes. Those orchards are long gone, and now the area is called the Silicon Valley.

Luckily, we live in an area with many thriving orchards that grow all of those fruits along with pears and apples and more. I always think of Santa Clara when I get a box of Clarkdale Fruit Farms’ plums. Mostly, I eat plums fresh out of the box as a snack.

Thanks to my Conway friends and neighbors, I now have two nifty recipes to expand my plum repertoire. Aina Barten and Kate French live near the center of town and they both are great cooks. Barten emailed me last week and said, “Kate said to send you this recipe while Clarkdale still has those luscious plums. It’s super easy to make.” It sure is easy and truly yummy!

French chimed in and said, “This was a scrumptious dessert served among friends last night. Clarkdale’s plums were so sweet and juicy, and Aina’s hand-whipped cream really made it a masterpiece. What a wonderful way to serve the plums! Another great way of savoring those plums is by using Jack and Sydney Ramey’s Plum Torte recipe (included in Conway’s 250th cookbook). We have such gorgeous fruit in our region and so many recipes to make. I made a copy of Aina’s recipe and added it to my 250th book.”

So, of course I pulled out my Conway 250th cookbook (that French compiled) to check out the Torte recipe. It’s a bit more complicated than Barten’s recipe, but worth the effort. A few weeks ago, I cut a plum in half to eat it and remembered one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in a baked dessert. And, I wondered where I might find such a recipe. French must have read my mind.

Also, plum season is almost over, so enjoy them now!

This Week We’re Eating ...

Refrigerator plum bread pudding: Shared by Aina Barten, Conway (from “The Spice Cook Book” by Lillie Stuckey and Avanelle Day)


3 C. (1½ lbs) sliced fresh blue (Italian) plums

1 C. sugar

¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 T. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. cornstarch

1 T. cold water

¼ tsp. vanilla extract

6 slices bread

butter or margarine

ground cinnamon

heavy cream (optional)


Place first four ingredients in saucepan. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Mix cornstarch with water and add. Cook one minute or until thickened.

Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in vanilla extract.

Butter bread and sprinkle with cinnamon. Arrange bread and plums in alternate layers in 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Chill several hours or overnight. Spoon into individual dishes. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Plum Torte: By Jack and Sydney Ramey, Conway (from “Conway’s Open: Savory Eats and Conway Treats, 250th Celebration Cookbook” edited by Kate French)


½ C. unsalted butter

¾ C. sugar

1 C. unbleached flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

2 eggs

24 halves pitted Italian plums

lemon juice



Cream together sugar and butter in bowl. Add sifted flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix. Add eggs and beat well.

Spoon batter into spring-form pan. Place plum halves, skin side up, on top of batter. Sprinkle with lemon juice, sugar, and a little cinnamon (if wanted). Bake 1 hour.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, or plain.

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer, editor, and book indexer. Send column suggestions and recipes to:


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