• 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 2 to 3 plums, pitted and sliced
  • 1/3 cup turbinado or raw sugar
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting

The FN Dish which provides trendy news, tips, tales and recipes from the Food Network has asked bloggers like me to participate in Summer Fest 2012. I enjoyed participating in last year’s summer and fall fest! Basically, a bunch of bloggers get together to link up all of our recipes which feature a different fruit or vegetable each week. This week we are all creating and sharing recipes for plums. Yeah, our family adores plums!  With few fruits available in such a plethora of colors, the juicy sweet plum is not only beautiful on the eyes, but amazing on the taste buds. Plum season extends from May through October with the Japanese varieties first on the market from May (peaking in August) and then followed by the European varieties in the fall… Now, what will my contribution be this week?

Always on the look-out for inspiration

After my book signing this weekend, Sandra, one of the fine folks at Quail Ridge, took me aside to show me a cookbook that she thought I would love! Sandra told me about Cheryl Day’s recent visit to Quail Ridge Books, our similar personalities, her appearance on QVC and how she and hubby, Griffith, were invited to fly with Paula Deen on her private jet. Wow!

In my hands Sandra placed Cheryl and Griffith’s book. Looking at the cover with Cheryl and Griffith on it, I had a feeling Sandra was right. We would get along very well! : – ) I opened the book, glimpsed at a few of the photographs and several of the recipes and was sold! This cookbook was going home with me…

In no time flat, I was up at the register and ready to go back to the heart of our home — our kitchen– to experiment with these amazing recipes offered up by the Days. While visiting their website I saw a trailer for their new book, The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook:




I was so inspired by Cheryl and Griffith that I called them! Cheryl was delightful (as I suspected she would be) and very approachable. These folks really want to make the world a better place by creating recipes that will make people ‘happy!’ and they have certainly done that. All of the recipes in the Day’s cookbook are fantastic, tried-and-true and definitely made with love–the secret ingredient to any good cook or baker!

Something very special for a very special young man…not your traditional birthday cake

My son Nate is turning twenty-three today. I’m not sure how that happened, because like I tell everyone who meets me — I’m only twenty-nine! ; – ) This Saturday we will have our traditional cookout in his honor, but today we are celebrating as well. We started off our day with a special breakfast of buttermilk waffles with my blueberry sauce, turkey bacon, creamy polenta and eggs.

From as far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a mother. It is hard to believe that today we are celebrating Nate’s 23rd birthday. Seems like it was just yesterday I held him in my arms. Somehow when I wasn’t looking he grew up… and what a wonderful young man he has become. No matter how old he gets … I will always know him by heart! Happy, Happy Birthday, Nathaniel!

In place of a birthday cake (which we will be having on Saturday) the Day’s recipe for Plum Tartlets inspired me to adapt their recipe and bake a tart for my son’s actual birthday. I chose to make this vanilla plum tart!  I know that this will warm Cheryl and Griff’s heart because with their bakery (and now their cookbook) their goal in life is to make people happy. My son Nathaniel loved the tart as did Alex, Amanda and I!

This recipe was the bomb!

This recipe has been adapted from Cheryl and Griffith’s amazing new cookbook, The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook! The picture of their little Plum Tartlets in their cookbook made me salivate!

I hope you will make this recipe and order a copy of this wonderful cookbook today! It’s THAT good!











Position your rack to the lower third of your oven. Preheat to 350 degrees F.

Lightly butter your tart pan.

BAKING TIP: Unwrap the butter you are going to use in this recipe. Use one of the butter wrappers to butter your tart pan. Fold the other wrapper in fours and place back in your butter drawer of your refrigerator. There you find butter wrappers waiting to be used the next time you need to lightly grease a baking pan, pie pan, ramekin, etc.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine your flour, baking powder, cardamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a medium bowl using a hand-held mixer), cream your butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. This will only take a minute or two. Add your beautiful egg yolks, granulated sugar, vanilla and orange zest. Beat until the mixture is a light and pretty yellow color. Reduce your speed to low and add half of your dry ingredients. Stop your mixer, scrape down the sides and add the other half. Mix just until incorporated. Be careful not to overmix your dough.

In my best radio voice: “And now for a kitchen tip from Cooking with Elise.”

Why do recipes always tell you not to “overmix” your dough? Allow me to explain…

  • Overmixing flour activates the gluten, a protein that can give baked goods a firm and elastic structure—delicious in a chewy pizza crust but less so in a delicate pastry.

Do this instead:

  • Go slow and gentle for tender cakes, tarts and flaky pie crusts. When adding dry ingredients to cookie and cake batters, use the lowest speed on an electric mixer or mix by hand until just combined. A few lumps in the batter are fine. For pie crust, whether you use a food processor or mix by hand, work the dough as little as possible. Visible bits of butter and streaks of flour are desirable.

“This message has been brought to you by Cooking with Elise. Helping families build healthier, stronger relationships by stirring memories, feeding souls and building legacies! : – )

And, now back to our tart!

Place your dough in your prepared tart pan and press down until you have the dough spread out evenly. Using your hands, fan the plum slices by pressing them into your dough at an angle. (I used two large plums here, but you can certainly add more if you like. Simply place your plums closer together!) Now, sprinkle your tart with turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar adds such a glistening touch to cookies and pies and a nice crunch to boot.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the tart looks set and is bubbly. You can insert a toothpick in the middle of your tart and if it comes out clean – it’s done! It should look slightly golden brown in color. This tart is delicious served warm. And heck, a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream never hurt either! :  – ) Today we lightly dusted our tart with a bit of confectioners’ sugar.


How great does that look?







Be sure to visit my FN Dish Summer Fest Friends for more delicious plum recipes.

Ingredients, Inc.: Pork, Plums and Rosemary Kabobs
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Plum Pizza With Goat Cheese
Cooking Channel: Best Plum Dessert Recipes
BGSK: Grandma Esther’s Plum and Walnut Cake
Delicious Lean: Plum Delicious Pork Chops
Daily*Dishin: Roasted Chicken With Plum Chili Salsa
Healthy Eats: 6 Ways to Cook With Plums
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Time for Plum Cobbler?
Thursday Night Dinner: Plum BBQ Chicken
From My Corner of Saratoga: Plum Upside Down Cake
Sweet Life Bake: Plum Pineapple Margarita
And Love It Too: Plum Pickin’ Pineapple Jam
FN Dish: Perfect Plum Recipes


Happy Baking and Eating!

From our hearts to yours,

Elise and family