Saturday, 17 July 2010

Cinnamon, Plum and Almond Brunsviger

I’m hot. It’s all I can think about. It’s all that I feel. I’m so hot the thought of espresso in the morning makes my stomach turn. I skip it and so I get to walk around with a headache all day. It’s a lose-lose situation on top of a scorching heat and a chocking humidity. This leaves me chasing the cool blessed air of the environmentally damaging, resource abusive, financially burdening air-con system. From my flat to the café, directly to the bus, in the car or at the shops. This is no way to live. Going out in midday is a close as it gets to the scene in “Total Recall”, when the governor of California commands to “give these people air”.

But enough about the weather. Except, its too hot to be cooking. The only think I can conceive to cook are raw salads, fruit salads, cold noodle salads, and cold soup. At one point in the past few weeks my freezer was a vessel for 3 types of ice cream and 2 varieties of granita.

It’s not all bad. I’m enjoying the best lychees I’ve had in years, candy sweet mangoes, concentrated Muscat grapes, plums, peaches and nectarines. I recently made a cinnamon plum confiture, but it was standing idly on the fridge shelf with no real purpose to fulfil. Until I found good use for it in the shape of a light sweet yeast summer pastry. I prepared the Brunsviger dough and used it as a neutral base. This was topped with the reduced plums, their bloody juices, cinnamon, sugar and sliced almonds. This is a cross between a brioche and a focaccia; mildly sweet, fluffy, dough I could almost lay my head on, topped with sweet and sour caramelized plums. That’s summer right there, baked and compressed into an intense edible rectangle.

Its worth the sweat.

Cinnamon Plums and Almonds Brunsviger

(This is no longer a Brunsviger as such, but until I come up with a better name, it’ll do).

8- 10 slices


1 ¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour

¼ cup Durum wheat semolina

2 Tbs Sugar

A pinch of salt

75 grams cold, good-quality butter

140 ml lukewarm milk

25 grams fresh yeast


¾ plum compote

Alternatively, you could use freshly sliced plums

4 Tbs granulated sugar

½ Tbs Cinnamon

1/3 cup almond slices

In a bowl, mix the flour, semolina, sugar and salt.

Cut the butter into small squares, add to the flour mixture and work it with your hands until the dough reaches the consistency of sawdust. Add the yeast into the lukewarm milk, stir it and pour into the dough.

Knead the dough well and add a little flour if it is too sticky to handle.

Cover the dough with a cloth and place in a warm place to proof for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C and line a brownie tray with a baking sheet.

Roll the dough out onto the tray and stretch it into place with your fingers. Dimple the dough and pour the cooked plums and their cooking juices.

Sprinkle the sugar, then the cinnamon and lastly, the almond slices.

Bake for 25 minutes. You will know its ready when the crust is golden and you wont be able to ignore the sweet smell of baked yeast.

Remove the bake from the tray and allow cooling before serving.

Slice and serve fresh with coffee.

The Brunsviger can be pre-sliced, tightly wrapped and kept in the freezer. before serving, defrost in the oven.

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