Monday, July 17, 2017

Beat Stress. Bake.

by Chloe Ellefson, Historic Site Curator

From the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries

by Kathleen Ernst

I have a maniacal boss, a rewarding but demanding job as curator at a living history museum, and a complicated relationship with a man I adore but don't always understand. I've had lots of practice managing stress.

My stress level has inched a bit higher recently. In the middle of trying to plan a special event about the role German immigrants played in the Civil War, a reenactor turned up dead. On site.

Not good.

When I'm this stressed, there's only one thing to do. Bake! Since I'm working on the German program for Old World Wisconsin, I've been trying recipes from that group.

I recently discovered that the Milwaukee Public Library has a huge collection of recipes published in  city newspapers from the 1960s into the 1980s. Librarians kept the file because so many people called the Reference Desk looking for particular recipes.

My latest find is a recipe for Bavarian Plum Flan (Milwaukee Sentinel, August 30, 1973). It's a great way to make use of luscious summer fruit!

Bavarian Plum Flan
10 plums
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/4 t. vanilla
1/8 t. almond extract
3/4 c. flour
dash salt
1-1/2 T. sugar
1/4 c. almonds
1 T. soft butter
1T. brown sugar
1 T. flour

Wash and halve plums. In small bowl, cream butter and 1/3 c. sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add extracts. Blend in 3/4 c. flour and salt.

Spread batter evenly in a buttered 9-1/4" flat pan with removable bottom. Arrange plums, cut side down, over surface. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake in 375 degree oven 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whirl almonds in blender or grind through fine blade of food chopper. Combine ground almonds with soft butter, brown sugar, and flour.  Sprinkle over surface of cake. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 or 15 minutes or until cake tests done. Serve warm or cold.

What do you do to relieve stress? I'm open to all suggestions!

* * *
Note:  In Chloe's time (1983), librarians maintained files of brittle yellowing clippings.  Happily, today you can access thousands of vintage recipes in the Historic Recipe File, part of the Milwaukee Public Library Digital Collection. It's searchable!

To learn more about the award-winning Chloe Ellefson series, see Kathleen's website or follow her on her Facebook Author Page.


  1. Sounds yummy. I might try it with peaches and/or nectarines

    1. Libby, it works well with all kinds of fruit. I like it because the cake layer is thin, so the focus is on the fruit. Hope you enjoy!

  2. This looks great! Does it have 3/4 cup of flour and a dash of salt?

  3. Abby - thanks for catching that! Fixed now. :>)