Here’s an interesting way to use plums — bake this “Tangy Plums Bread.” With autumn rapidly approaching, plums are in season and they are easy to find. This quick bread is very simple to make, very healthy and best of all, quite delicious. It makes a great breakfast bread or snack and the aromatic flavors of plums and walnuts stand out.
The recipe is from the cookbook, “Schmeck’s Appeal”, by Edna Staebler. Ms. Staebler was a food writer and cookbook author from the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario, Canada. For some years, she lived in the home of an Old Order Mennonite farmer of the Hutterite colony and collected and documented family favorite recipes. She gained the trust of these farmers and their recipes which had been passed down through the centuries. The recipes are all genuine and delicious.
The breezes from Lake Ontario and mild climate make it an ideal area for growing fruit trees and these Mennonite farms had orchards of apples and plums. While visiting Rochester, New York, one year I couldn’t resist stopping at every road side farmer’s stand we came to. Here’s a photo taken of plums at a farmer’s stand in upstate New York, across Lake Ontario from the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The plums are all gorgeous.
The question is, what to cook with all the plums? Edna Staebler made this same remark–that few cookbooks included recipes for plums. So she devoted an entire chapter to plum recipes in “Schmecks Appeal.” This is now my “go to”cookbook for plum recipes and so far every recipe I’ve tried has been a good one.
When I contacted the Canadian publisher about obtaining permission to reprint recipes, the response was that they no longer held the rights to the recipes. The cookbook was published in 1987 and is out of print. Edna Staebler’s estate now owns the recipes; I have been unable to locate the estate. I never throw away a good cookbook; I’m reprinting the recipe, hopefully, with the estate’s graces.
Ms. Schmeck’s Tangy Plum Bread Recipe
Ms. Schmeck told this story about her Plum Bread recipe. She made a loaf for a friend, but while it was sitting on her counter, she cut off a piece and ate it. And then another piece. The bread was so good, it was quickly gone. Edna had to bake another loaf for her friend. Fortunately, there seemed to be no shortage of plums and her story attests to the yummy flavor of the bread.
The plum bread is a very dense, moist bread–not overly sweet which I like. It is a quick bread and uses baking powder for leavening rather than yeast. It reminds me of a banana bread recipe or a dense muffin.
The bread is very easy to make; just two bowls are needed. Stir by hand–one does not need an electric mixer. To make the bread, simply combine the dry ingredients and then stir in the plums and nuts. In another bowl combine the egg, milk, oil and orange zest. Then combine everything, stir just enough to barely combine; pour into oiled loaf pan and bake.
Health Benefits of Plums and Recipe ingredients
Plums are a very healthy fruit, the bright colors of the plum is an indicator that they are rich in phytonutrients. These are classified as phenols, specifically neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. These phenols are antioxidants and give the body protection against the damaging effects of free radicals. Plums are also rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium and fiber.
In other nutritional value, recipe uses oil rather than butter–just a little oil. This plum bread does include some sugar, but less than other recipes. The walnuts add nutritional value, too. To further reduce the fat, use skim milk in the recipe.
Tangy Plum Bread
- 2 cups flour
- 2-1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus additional for topping
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
- 1-1/2 cups pitted and chopped plums
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- Graded rind of 1 orange
- 3 Tbsp oil
Method and Steps
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a loaf pan.
- Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
- Add the nuts and plums, and stir.
- Break the egg. Add the milk, orange rind, and oil. Blend until the rind is very fine.
- Then pour the moist mixture into the flour-sugar mixture and blend only until there is no sign of flour.
- Spoon batter into well-buttered loaf pan.
- Sprinkle the top with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for almost an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack – then try to resist it.