Apples Turn To Berries - תפוחים הופכים לפירות יער
When I go to the Shuk - which used to be everyday and is now a little less often - I ask Ken if he wants anything. Almost without fail, he replies "fruit". I then ask "what kind of fruit?" He usually says "see if they have any nectarines". I say "okay" and go off and most often than not, find nectarines. I buy them, bring them home and then they sit uneaten until find some way to use them up in a recipe.
This is the dance we do. Not sure what it says about us - maybe that isn't important - but it results in a lot of nectarine desserts.
Three nectarines were staring at me last Friday. They weren't overripe but the skin had begun to pucker and they weren't appealing to eat as they were. I thought maybe I would make a fruit salad or maybe a trifle. Fruit salad is good, but a bit boring and trifle is great but really meant for a crowd where it is eaten up immediately. The problem of course was, what can you do with three nectarines? Not enough fruit for much of anything and I certainly wasn't going to go out and buy anymore.
I had to go to the Shuk in any event and while I was there I saw some blueberries and cherries. In Israel these fruits are like gold - maybe more valuable, ounce for ounce.
In any event, the blueberries, cherries and nectarines still didn't give me enough fruit for a pie. I thought of muffins but nectarines would have produced a lump of unbaked fruit at the bottom of the muffin. And then it dawned on me that I could make my Mother's Apple Cake since the dough to fruit ratio is high on the dough side and low on the fruit side.
Apple Cake is a family favorite. Something we have on ordinary days and on special days. Sometimes it is made with blackberries but usually it is just plain apples, cinnamon and sugar.
I decided to get a little fancy when using the fruit since I wouldn't want to mess with Mom's recipe. As she says, it's in the hands of the baker.
BT's Version of Mom's Apple Cake
1 scant cup (250 ml) of vegetable oil - canola or sunflower
2 medium eggs
1 cup (120 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
2 tablespoons (28 grams) baking powder
2 cups + 2-3 tablespoons (240 grams + 60 grams) cake flour
3 yellow flesh nectarines
1 cup (120 grams) blueberries
1 cup (120 grams) pitted cherries
3/4 cup (180 grams) sugar
2 ounces (60 ml) Kirsh or any fruit Eau de Vie
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons (28 grams) cornstarch
Turn oven on to 350 degrees F. (175-180 C.)
Wash berries and cherries thoroughly. Cut nectarines into 8ths.
Put fruit, sugar, salt, spices and Eau de Vie in saucepan.
Turn burner on low and cover. Cook until fruit is soft but not dissolved.
Mix cornstarch with tiny amount of water - just enough to dissolve - and stir into fruit mixture. Stir until sauce begins to thicken.
Remove fruit from heat. Let cool.
In a bowl, blend together eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and oil. Mix until smooth and sugar is dissolved.
In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups (240 grams) flour with baking powder.
Add flour mixture to wet ingredients. Mix until dough forms a soft ball.
Pour 3/4 of dough into a rectangular baking dish making a base for the cake.
Reserve 1/4 of dough mixture for topping.
Pour cooked fruit on to cake base.
Add remaining flour 2-3 tablespoons (60 grams) to reserved dough. Dough should be dry but still soft.
Form ball and grate on medium sized grater over fruit
Bake for 45 minutes.