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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Combine walnuts and prunes for an Italian style treat

Guests at Quillisascut Farm can collect and press their own walnut oil in small batches.

But just in case you might have missed last weekend’s walnut workshop, organizers offered to share one of the farm’s walnut recipes.

This Walnut Italian Plum Cake, flavored with Cognac, pairs dried fruit and nuts. The cake is only slightly sweet, and its nutty flavor improves with age.

Condé Nast Traveler magazine named Quillisascut Farm one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the Pacific Northwest in 2013. It’s located at 2409 Pleasant Valley Road in Rice, Washington. Call (509) 738-2011. On the Web: http://quillisascut.com.

Quillisascut Walnut Italian Plum Cake

By pastry chef Linda Oosterhuis, from “Chefs On the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts” by Shannon Borg, Lora Lea Misterly and Karen Jurgensen (Skipstone Press, an Imprint of Mountaineers Books, 2008)

1 cup pitted Italian plums (prunes)

3 tablespoons Cognac

1 cup walnut pieces

¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cups sugar

5 whole eggs

½ cup walnut flour (see note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Soak Italian plums in 2 tablespoons of Cognac for 30 minutes. Add a little warm water if prunes are very dry or not covered by liquid.

Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch cake pan. Finely chop the walnut pieces and soaked prunes. Sift, and then measure the all-purpose flour. Sift the all-purpose flour together with salt and baking powder into a large bowl.

Beat butter in a stand mixer for 1 minute. Add in the sugar and beat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl several times and mixing until well incorporated. Mix in the walnut flour. Sift the dry ingredients over the batter, mixing just until combined. Fold in the remaining 1 tablespoon Cognac, chopped walnuts, and prunes.

Pour batter into the cake pan and bake 50 minutes to one hour or until dark brown and a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before un-molding. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze.

Makes: 10 servings

Note: You can make your own walnut flour by grinding enough walnuts in a blender or spice grinder to make a ½ cup of walnut flour. At the farm, they use the flour that is left after pressing the walnuts for oil.

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