Prunes are dried plums of various plum species. They are used in many ways in the Ukrainian kitchen. European plums are referred to as "sugar plums" and are usually sold as dried fruit. Fresh plums marketed as "prunes" have an oval shape and a more easily removed pit. The dried fruit is wrinkly in texture, and chewy.
Prune juice is made by softening prunes through steaming and then putting them through a pulper to create a watery puree. Prunes and prune juice contain significant amounts of dietary fiber and a natural laxative, and are thus common home remedies for constipation. (Faster results are obtained by heating the prune juice.) Prunes also have high antioxidant content.
In years past, sweets made with prunes and plums were common in Ukrainian Canadian homes, especially for wedding showers and Christmas.
This outstanding torte is low in fat but high in fibre and flavour … it only tastes rich and decadent! It’s a family favourite of Judy’s, handed down generations. It’s easy to make and freezes well.
2 cups flour
2 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp ground cloves
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ tsp soda
1 ½ cup prunes
Place prunes in a saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Cook over medium heat until softened (4-5 minutes).
Sift dry ingredients together; add oil and beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly.
Mix ½ teaspoon soda into the buttermilk, and add to the batter. Add softened prunes.
Pour batter into two 9 inch round layer cake pans or three 8-inch pans lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes or until tester inserted into cake comes out dry. (Be sure not to insert it into a prune.) Cake should be a light golden colour.
Fill and ice with your favorite icing (chocolate is nice) or a lemon or rum glaze. For an even more intense fruit flavour, fill with plum butter or a thick plum jam.