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LET'S COOK: Driven ‘plum crazy’ by plums, heritage

September 28, 2018
Chuck Repnow , Pierce County Tribune

We are big dessert lovers in my family, and this week we were given a splendid gathering of deep purple plums. Now here comes the concern we are also fans of Norsk Hostfest so plums and heritage are both competing for our time. It is times like this that drive me "plum crazy."

Yes, Norsk Hostfest has lots of fine desserts, but I simply cannot let these purple gems go to waste. Baking the featured plum coffee cake solved this concern because it freezes well. I will admit, when the cake came out of the oven, it looked like a bronzed broach studded with amethyst and sprinkled with star dust diamonds. We gathered around and admired it before crowning with clouds of whipped cream and then pairing it with freshly dripped coffee. The bright, somewhat tart, flavor just makes us happy. Plus, plums are nutritious! That is simply "plum crazy."

Norsk Hostfest is celebrating 41 years of Pure Scandimonium! We kicked off Norsk Hostfest by attending the commemorative service in memory of Sondre Norheim, and his wife Rannei, held on Tuesday at the amazing and historic Norway Lutheran Church and Cemetery south of Denbigh, North Dakota. I had the honor of serving as Master of Ceremonies. We boarded a bus in Minot for the journey through Velva, Karlsruhe and our final destination, Norway Lutheran Church. The trees all along the way were displaying their autumn splendor impressing our Norwegian visitors and others aboard the yellow bus. As we rolled along, there are plenty of smiles, lively chatting, and the atmosphere full of excitement as we wait to catch the first glimpse of Norway Lutheran Church on the open prairie. Allen Schlag, our fine driver, chauffeured us through the arched cottonwoods and unto the rise of the church proper. This path is our red carpet to the start of remembering numerous Norwegian heritages. The morning could not have been more perfect as Miss Norsk Hostfest 2018, Lily Bonebrake, placed the wreath of red roses on the Sondre and Rennei's graves. The trees clustered near the church were a tapestry of russet, gold, and rust. A woman next to me stated that several years ago the day had not been so perfect; in fact, it snowed! Now that was "plum crazy!"

Article Photos

The music performed during this service was inspiring. We heard Joan Haaland Paddock perform on a Traditional Nordic Wind instrument, the Change of Pace Singers from Minot High School, under the direction of Lindsay Kerzmann, sang "Norway, My Norway" and "Precious Memories." Adding to the selections was Trine Strand, a soloist from Norway, who sang "Abide with Me" in Norwegian and English. Carolyn Sanderson-Heller played on the old-fashioned pump organ "How Great Thought Art" which was sung first in English and then in Norwegian. This 111-year-old church was alive with music to honor the "Father of Modern Skiing" and it was uplifting. Sondre invented, skied, relocated, and homesteaded. These choices not only changed his life, but many others as well. That is why we honor and savor the feats of this undisputed master of the slopes. His inventing of ski bindings changed the world of downhill skiing. Just think about the contrast between Sondre's birth place in Norway, with cascading mountains, and then coming to the flat, almost endless prairie. Surely there had to be a time when he thought this move was simply "plum crazy."

Fact Box

Plum Coffee Cake

This cake comes out of the oven looking beautiful. If you are lucky, several of the plums will burst and create wells of purple pools. I first experienced this recipe while living in Massachusetts. It was a favorite recipe of my landlady, Mrs. Martineau, who made it until her plum box was empty. She also froze this cake; it rewarms nicely.

Cake

- 1 cup of sugar

- cup of butter, softened

- 1 cup of flour, sifted

- 1 teaspoon of baking power

- Pinch of salt

- 1 teaspoon cinnamon

- 2 eggs

- 24 halves pitted purple plums

Topping

- cup brown sugar

- teaspoon cinnamon

- 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat well. Spoon the batter into a 10 inch spring-form pan.

Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. The plums will fit tightly in pan. Blend sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice to create a topping to sprinkle on top of plums.

Bake 1 hour. Cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream.

 
 

 

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