I'm going through a phase in which my sweet tooth seems to have a hollow center! Let's call it a dessert baking binge of gargantuan proportions. Maybe it's that it is summer and with the hot humid temps, we tend to crave more for nibbling on sweets than on eating large savory meals. Summer cooking is super inspired by the freshness and locality of ingredients. Some of my favorites are strawberries, cherries, peaches, watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, ohh I just love them all!
I bought this pint of fresh strawberries from a local farmer who brings his produce to a retirement community every weekend. Beautiful, and many still with their long stems.
It was actually more than a pint, as I had enough to make a sweet puree for my homemade strawberry ice-cream (will post later about this), and with the remaining, a strawberry clafoutis, a dense buttery thick fruit pancake baked in the oven. I used this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, in which I substituted the pears for strawberries. I found it to be more custard-like than cakelike. Then again, the recipe calls for a shockingly large measure of heavy cream! But, who's complaining? It turned out beautiful, and was relatively quick and easy.
Peaches have a greatly intoxicating aroma. I've always loved them, and have a particular weakness for big juicy white peaches, a relic of my childhood. I had about 2 hours time yesterday at home in between work and lsat class, and thought, what could I prep and bake up in such time? All day I was craving sinking my teeth into a soft coffeecake, so I incorporated the peaches on my counter into my recipe.
The cake has 3 layers: the buttery cake base, sliced peaches tossed in apricot jam, and the sugary walnut crumb topping. What an indulgent way to end a hecticly busy day with a big piece of this cake, a glass of milk, and watching a rerun of Tony Bourdain's No Reservations.
I will post the recipe later tonite, as I am running late for work!! :)