It's always about this time of year that I fall prey to fruit impatience. Peaches, nectarines, and apricots start showing up in the market and inevitably, against my better judgment I buy a couple. Now, I know that these fruits are not yet truly in season, and they won't be nearly as sweet and delicious as they will be in July and August. But every year my fruit impatience gets the best of me, and every year I am disappointed.
This weekend I found myself with some apricots that looked lovely but tasted, well, not quite at their peak. Instead of tossing the slightly mealy little specimens out, I decided to incorporate them into this Apricot Cake from Recipes from an Italian Summer. Through the magic of a buttery cake batter the apricots became perfectly sweet and and creamy during the baking with just the right amount of tartness. The thick cake batter rose to double the size and the top crust studded with chopped pistachios browned beautifully.
If you also suffer from early summer fruit impatience this recipe can be adapted to use all manner of not-quite-ready-to-eat fruit. Any under or overripe stone fruit would work, and even berries that look better than they taste can be happily subbed in to make for an infinitely more enjoyable summer dessert.
Win Recipes from an Italian Summer
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Recipes from an Italian Summer to give away this week.
- Generous 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, plus extra for greasing
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 3/4 pounds apricots
- 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan. Put the apricots in a bowl, pour in boiling water to cover, and let stand for 15 seconds, then drain. Peel off the skins, halve, and remove the pits, then cut each half into 2 pieces.
Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy, then fold in the eggs, one at a time.
Sift the flour over the mixture and stir in, then stir in the apricots. Dissolve the baking powder a little lukewarm water and add to the mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with the pistachios, and bake fore 1 hour, until risen and golden. Let stand in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.