Starting to Go Plum Crazy

That special Yukon summer time is here. Go out and pick some fresh wild raspberries to combine with ripe, red plums in this delicious summer dessert.

Yukon river banks and the sides of old railroad tracks and ditches usually yield a motherlode of wild raspberries. Take a bunch of friends with you so you will out-number the bears.

Plum and Wild Raspberry Cake


Shortbread Pastry:

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter, chilled and cut into chunks
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ vanilla bean or ¼ teaspoon extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ? cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped (325 F oven for 10 minutes)
  • 6 red ripe plums
  • 1 cup wild raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar


Shortbread Pastry:

l Into a food processor, measure the flour and sugar.

l Add the cubed butter and process five seconds.

l In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolk and vanilla extract then add to the flour/sugar mixture in the food processor.

l Process for 10 seconds or until dough starts to cling together.

l Gather the dough into a ball, put into a plastic bag and refrigerate one hour or freeze 15 minutes.

l Press the dough into the bottom of a 9 or 10-inch spring form pan. If you can, try and press the dough up to about a half inch or so on the sides of the pan.

l Refrigerate the crust.


l Into a small heavy saucepan, place the milk and the halved vanilla bean including the vanilla bean seeds which you have scraped and mixed in with the milk.

l Heat the milk to just below boiling point.

l In the meantime, with an electric mixer or a very strong hand holding a whisk, beat the egg yolks and sugar until very thick (about five minutes).

l Whisk the flour and cornstarch into the thick egg yolk mixture.

l Add half the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture stirring like crazy so as not to curdle the filling. Eventually add all of the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture.

l Return the egg/sugar/milk mixture to the saucepan and heat gently until the filling thickens. Stir constantly as this will only take a couple of minutes.

l When thickened to the point where the back of your wooden spoon is coated, remove saucepan from heat.

l Pour the filling into a small bowl, cover the surface of the filling with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes or until slightly cool.


l Whew, take a breather.

l Onto the top of the chilled crust, spread the cooled filling.

l On top of the filling, sprinkle ½ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts.

l Half and remove the pits from the plums. Slice the plums like a fan starting at the wide cut side and slice into, but not through, the plum. The plum will fan out and be intact at the bottom. Alternatively, just slice the plum halves into four slices each.

l Arrange the plums in an attractive circular pattern on top of the filling/hazelnuts.

l Arrange the raspberries to fill in spaces between the plum slices.

l Mix the cinnamon and two tablespoons of sugar together and sprinkle over the top.

l Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for about 45 minutes.

l Cool on rack for at least 15 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan.

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