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Author Notes: Have you ever looked at your kitchen counter and found that the careful pyramid of ripe pluots that you built with such love and precision has toppled, sending fruit from the toaster to the sink? Since one person's stomach is no match for a half a dozen soft summer stone fruits, something had to be done. The result: a soft, pluot-filled coffee cake ring, not too sweet to eat for breakfast but fancy enough for dessert. The shape was inspired by Joy the Baker's Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake, the dough was liberally adapted (based on the contents of my fridge) from Smitten Kitchen's Plum Kuchen, and the filling was all my idea. I've only made it with those high-entropy pluots, but I suspect plums would be equally delicious. —summersavory
Serves at least 7
For the dough:
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (one packet's worth)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup (scant) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups flour, divided
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 pluots or large plums
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- First, find yourself a medium-sized mixing bowl, and pour in the warm water. Add the yeast, and let it sit for a minute or two, or five; when it proves it's alive by getting a bit foamy, it's ready.
- Add the vanilla, egg, ginger, yogurt, salt, and sugar to the yeast. Stir that up a bit, then add a cup of the flour and stir some more. Add a second cup, and keep stirring with your trusty wooden spoon (or other mixing implement of choice). When that's all well-combined, add most of the last half cup of flour, reserving about two tablespoons.
- Cut the butter into a few pieces, and add it to your dough. You can mix it in partway with a spoon and some elbow grease, but to truly homogenize the stuff you'll need to get your hands in there and knead it, greasy fingers and all. When the butter's incorporated into the dough (it doesn't take too long, really), form it into a rough ball, put the last two tablespoons of flour in the bowl, and roll the dough around to coat it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it someplace where the dough won't catch a chill. Let it rise until it about doubles in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- When the yeast has almost finished working on that first rise, you can prepare your filling. Put the chopped ginger in a bowl with the sugar, and then chop up your pluots or plums and throw them in. Mix it all together, and let it sit, so the flavors can get acquainted.
- Now is also a good time to get your baking sheet ready. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment. That's it. Easy, no? (You really do need parchment here to keep burnt sugar off the tray-don't skip it for greasing and flouring unless you don't mind fighting to get the cake off once it's baked).
- Has your dough risen enough? Well, then, it's time to make the roll! Flour your countertop (or table, or cutting board) and drop that dough on top. Pat it out into a rectangle, approximately 10"x14". Distribute the pluot/plum pieces and ginger bits over the top, leaving the sugar-and-fruit-juice liquid in the bowl (it's pretty tasty stuff, I must say-try it in a glass of seltzer, maybe?). Dot the fruit with the two tablespoons of butter and then carefully, carefully, roll up the dough with everything inside (direction-wise: you want to end up with a 14"-long roll of dough).
- Use both hands and a great deal of caution to gently shift the roll onto the baking sheet, with the seam side down. Breath a sigh of relief that it didn't all fall apart. Then, arrange the roll in a shallow semicircle. With a clean pair of scissors, slice into the dough at 2" intervals, leaving about 3/4" attached towards the inside edge of the curve. Curl the dough a bit more so that the sections separate a bit and the whole thing forms a ring (the ends don't need to meet, though, if they don't want to). Cover the ring gently with a tea towel and leave it for half an hour.
- When the half hour is almost up, preheat your oven to 375F. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is brown and lovely. Let it cool on the tray for at least 15 minutes so the insides get a chance to settle; then, eat!
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