Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Stone Fruit

That is, fruit with a stone in the middle- as opposed to stoned fruit which is how I often seem to serve it- macerated in creme de cassis or poached in red wine!
We are now getting well into the stone fruit season- apricots, cherries, then peaches and nectarines as the summer goes on and plums as the season reaches its peak. Time to look at some ways of using up these fruits whilst they are plentiful and getting cheaper- before they spoil in the fruit bowl.

I'm starting with an Apricot Pavé.

A pavé is French for a cobblestone and is used in menus to describe something which is that sort of shape eg. pavé de saumon or pavé de rumsteack- but hopefully a little lighter in texture!
This cake is a basic sponge, but made delicious with the addition of some chopped apricot, orange and coconut.
It doesn't need any icing or drizzle- it is quite soft and moist as it is.


5-6 apricots, sliced
200g of softened butter
juice of 1 orange
200g sugar
100g dessicated coconut
300g flour
2 tsp baking powder
120 ml milk
3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Cream the butter, orange juice and sugar and gradually beat in the eggs.
Add the flour, baking powder and coconut and mix in the milk to make a batter.
Mix in the chopped apricots, pour into a greased and lined square cake tin (if you have one) and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden and firm.

Once cool, cut into squares (to be proper pavés) or slices if you prefer.

Apricot Pavé

Another good way to use up apricots is in a clafoutis- which I have featured on the blog before, but here it is again if you missed it.
Halve the apricots and place in a greased pie dish

Make a sweet batter with eggs, milk, sugar and plain flour

Pour over the apricots and bake at 180 degrees until set

Likewise for my Cherry Soup ( which- OK -does require poaching in wine etc etc)

Poach cherries, grapes and other fruit in red wine and sugar until syrupy
 (You can look these recipes up using the panel to your right and clicking on the link).

If you have any cherries left over - use them to decorate a refrigerator cake . This is my Fluffy Ruffle Pie- so named because that is what we used to call this mousse-like confection when my two brothers and I were little. It is definitely a blast from the past- but easy and tasty, so I urge you to try it.


250g digestive biscuits, blitzed to crumbs
100g butter
1 fruit jelly (lime, lemon, cherry, strawberry whatever you like)
1 small tin evaporated milk

Make up the jelly to 300ml with boiling water and leave to cool. (After about an hour it will begin to set slightly- this is perfect).
Grease and line a 23 cm cake tin. (If you use a loose bottomed one - make sure you do line it, or you will have a lemon jelly/evaporated milk catastrophe in your fridge as I did!)
Melt the butter in a saucepan and mix in the biscuit crumbs
Press the mixture into the tin, lining the base and sides to make a shell
Place in the fridge or freezer to cool.
Mix the evaporated milk into the jelly mixture and whisk with an electric whisk until good and frothy.

Whisk up your jelly and evaporated milk
Pour into the flan tin and leave in the fridge to set  (overnight is best).

Serve decorated with fruit or whipped cream.

Fluffy Ruffle Pie
If you prefer a more grown up version, you can make a Key Lime pie- which uses condensed milk and fresh limes rather than jelly and evaporated milk. The biscuit base is the same - but the filling uses 450g sweetened condensed milk, the juice and zest of 5 limes or lemons and 300 ml of lightly whipped double cream. Whisk the lime juice, zest and milk together - watch it start to thicken- and then fold in the whipped cream.

Finally- and you might think this is a bit of a cheat- I have a savoury recipe for you- using olives (which I think do still count as a stone fruit).
I made these Olive Cookies Sablés for our annual garden party and they went down well with the apéritifs - so I thought I'd share the recipe with you as it is such a good one.

(Makes 24 cookies)
180g flour
80 g soft butter or marge
1 egg
24 pitted black olives
80 g grated strong cheese eg. Parmesan or mature cheddar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp fresh herbs- finely chopped (eg. rosemary, thyme, oregano)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven  to 160 degrees.
Put the butter, egg, 16 of the olives and the oil into a food processor. Pulse in the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and the grated cheese and keep going until the mixture forms a ball of soft dough.
Line two baking trays with baking paper, then, using wet hands form 24 balls of dough - each one about the size of a walnut. Lay them on the trays, spaced apart.

Cookies spaced apart
Flatten them slightly with a fork.
Cut the remaining 8 olives into 3 rings each- and put an olive ring on top of each cookie.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Baked and decorated
Cool on a wire rack- and enjoy with your apéros !

Olive Cookies Sablés

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