A Cake for Any Fruit
|Almond cake with white peaches|
When summer fruit season is at its peak, as it is now, and the temperatures outside or rising, as they were last week, baking can be a uncomfortable task to face. Why sweat while the oven preheats when the fruit is so good to eat out-of-hand? But bake many of us do: pies, tarts, crumbles, buckles, cobblers and more. Pies are always a production, not the kind of desert you can throw together after dinner for a quick desert. Tarts are somewhat easier, but it's the simple batter-and-fruit approach that's the quickest to throw together, and with such simplicity, arguably the best tasting. It's that basic combination of fruit, sugar and heat--the bready bits just a medium, albeit a tasty one--that offers the purest expression of good, ripe fruit.
Almond Fruit Cake
Adapted from David Tanis' A Platter of Figs (which you should buy)
1 cup unblanched almonds (or almond meal)
1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 sugar for topping
1/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 whole milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 pounds fresh fruit (plum, peaches, apricots, figs, etc., etc.)
1) Preheat the oven to 350
2) If using whole almonds, place in a food processor with the ½ cup of sugar and pulse until finely ground. Mix in a bowl with flour and salt.
3) Whisk together eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together
4) Pour into a 12" round pie pan (I use a cast iron skillet) and top with your fruit of choice, which should be thickly sliced and unpeeled. Dust with the remaining sugar (1/4 cup) and throw it in the oven.
Serve warm, with crème fraiche. Also makes a great breakfast the next day, if there are any leftovers.