The summer is at its high point here, after a discouraging plunge into the true autumnal weather, we’re having even hot summer days here (although with some rain…)! So I decided to make 2 re-caps of what I have been doing recently from the abundant gifts from our nature. This summer we’re having an invasion of berries (and it’s clear there’ll be not less apples too!) but for sure you can get whatever you want in the stores, so go on, use the chance and create summer treats – some of them can even become later your winter delicacies which will remind you of the hot summer days!
So here are several recipes with FRUITS.
Sorbet Two Ways adapted from the much loved www.kingarthurflour.com – a very easy recipe which leaves you a whole field for adaptation, alteration and adjustments!
I have not an ice cream maker at home so my way of making the sorbet was a traditional one – hehe, by hand! I’ve already made it thrice, three different versions. The sorbet is quite sweet, so if your berries / fruits are already very sweet, consider putting less sugar syrup perhaps. Our berries are always quite tangy and acidic (poor teeth!) so even with this amount of sugar, they still preserve their sourness – which has a quite refreshing effect by the way!
This is how it looks like after being frozen, stirred and then placed into individual custard cups (by the way, this one is no custard cup, this is actually a clay pot the Greeks use to sell their sheep yoghurt in! a very nice product with a baking pot included in the price of just about 1 euro=)
So here are my three versions of the sorbet (in either way I did not weigh the fruit, I just took as much as my small blender will hold):
1. black currants + a pear
2. black currants + a pear + an apricot
3. black currants + red currants + a banana
The result of these versions: a sweet & tangy berryish sorbet which is a nice way to cool yourself on a hot summer day!
Remember, that you can always freeze your berries with almost no effort involved. But then, on a cold winter day, a piece of cake with berries gathered in your garden, mmm, what can be more reassuring?
Turn these gorgeous but incredibly abundant berries into your future cakes, muffins and pies:
This is how my Mom freezes black & red currants, gooseberries and blueberries:
she carefully washes the berries (best picked when not overripe yet!), picks them over than dries them with either a paper towel or a cloth, then distributes them evenly on a wavy plastic board (which is actually used to keep your freshly made ravioli in order), places in the freezer till they are hard and then puts them in plastic bags. Our freezer is already full of black currants and now there are more and more red packets too =)
By the way, with the arrival of the fridges fitted with freezers, most of Soviet housewives got used to freezing, although not that much as preserving their summer and autumn harvest. So, still got berries on hand? Or – you already have lots of jars filled with new sparkling jams and all sorts of confiture and you want to use up the rest of your jam stock from the previous years? Try this Italian Jam Tart:
Crostata di Marmellata (Italian Jam Tart) from bakinghistory.wordpress.com, although the original recipe is by Pellegrino Artusi, and its publication dates back to 1891!
The dough – the Italian pasta frolla – is enough for the pie as well as for two small cup-sized pastries. The only change I did was to use less butter and add some cinnamon to the pastry. Concerning the sugar – I used powdered sugar. As for the jam filling, I had a jar of 2009 black currant jam from my Granny, which had so little sugar in it that it was quite liquid. Surely, even though I chose the thickest parts of it (including berries), that was not the perfect jam for the pie, as I had some problems with taking it out of the pan and also while cutting. I also added some fresh berries on top of the jam, just to make it more summer-y =)
This is how it looked before baking:
The lattice crust is brushed with some egg white which is left out in this recipe. So here is the result:
A tangy pie with a tasty pastry! I’m sure that it would have been even tastier, should I have used a less liquid jam.
Got fresh but not very ripe peaches? (or skip the preparation step just using the canned Greek peaches as I did!) – this was the cake for my Mother’s b-day this year, I decided to bake something other than a multilayer cake with candles on top =)
So here is Fresh Peach Pie from the great www.kitchenparade.com – the first pie I did with just a pre-baked crust and a no-cook filling. Although mine was not a truly FRESH peach cake, I – again – ‘helped’ Greece by buying the wonderful canned peaches (look here and here and here and even here too for more recipes with canned peaches).
My pie turned out to be a little unstable, I mean, when we cut into it it was falling apart, but it also had a tendency to be eaten quickly=) I liked my addition of cardamom instead of the almond extract, and the mixture of citrus and soft peach is just sublime! I had only two oranges and they did not yield the required volume of juice, so I added some sugar syrup from the peaches too. As for the pre-baked pie crust, I used this Sweet Pastry Dough recipe from lisamichele.wordpress.com, also pasta frolla by the way (to which I added some cinnamon + orange zest, the recipe was enough for the pie and for another, a small improvised black currant swirl cheesecake! – see further)
I did not make the topping, it was just OK without it. The result is an unusual pie which can really be an interesting dessert for your summer meal. And don’t worry if you’re short on lovely fresh peaches, it’s even easier with canned ones, cause you don’t have to prepare the fruit!
Here’s, finally, my own Improvised Black Currant Swirl Cheesecake – I had the pasta frolla leftovers + that very black currant jam from my Granny, so after buying some Belorussian cottage cheese, I decided there was no other way other than to make a small cheesecake.
It reminded me of the cottage cheese bake my Mother usually makes for dinner, as our traditional cottage cheese has this special taste and granular texture that cannot pass unnoticed into your mouth =)
Here’s how: Beat two eggs, add some powdered sugar (to taste, about 1/2 cup, I think), a package of 2% cottage cheese, some sour cream, vanilla and ginger. Pre-bake your crust (whatever pastry recipe you choose) for a while, scatter some semolina to hold the liquid, than spread a layer of your jam (as mine was very runny, I added some cornstarch) and then pour your cottage cheese mixture. Make several swirls with a knife (this actually happened by chance=) and bake for 30 mins or so at 180 ‘C.
The result is nice for this sort of an improvised pie!=)
P.S. Can’t believe it’s already August!