I felt a twinge of guilt this morning when I discovered a mound of uneaten plums at the bottom of the fruit bowl, some no longer really of this world, others still edible but too soft to be very appealing. Then I remembered a recipe from Marlena di Blasi’s beautiful memoir “A Thousand Days in Venice” that uses plums and a potato bread dough to make a pudding called “sleeping plums” (or “prugne addormentate”).
I first attempted to make this a couple of years ago. On account of going out to a baby group part way through what is only meant to be a one hour prove, the dough ended up being a beast of epic proportions. It then didn’t fit into the dish and rapidly spilled over whilst cooking, leading me to panic and take it out of the oven too soon. Astonishing as it may be, it turns out that something that is both drastically over-proved and considerably under-cooked is not without its problems. By tacit family agreement it hasn’t been mentioned since, although at the time there were (back-handed) compliments about the plums themselves being delicious.
So it was to redeem myself as well as salve my conscience about binning half the fruit bowl plums that I made it again. (I had borrowed “A Thousand Days in Venice” originally, so didn’t have a copy, but the recipe is on the Woman’s Hour website.)
It transpires that when you follow the recipe it turns out well (although it still overflowed in the oven), with the saltiness of the bread working nicely against the sweetness of the muscovado sugar and cream topping. (Ooh, and the house fills with wonderful smells while it’s cooking.) It’s meant to be for 6-8 people, but given how filling it is due to the thick base of potato bread, and how rich, I’d say more like 8-10. I prefer lighter puddings so don’t think I’ll make it again, but really did enjoy feeling in some way closer to a book that I had enjoyed so much.
PS I did take a photo, but it didn’t do anyone any favours.