My fridge overfloweth with gorgeous summer fruit...
If you're a fruit lover, California, at this time of year is a wonderful place to be. The stores and markets are full of locally grown fruit--figs, apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, berries, pears, etc., and the prices are dirt cheap. We've been eating fruit straight from the fridge like crazy, but I've also been doing a lot of fruit-based baking/cooking.
Recently, I've made vegan peach ice cream, fig pound cake with blueberry-anise compote, and a batch of amazingly delicious maple apple-pear butter.
For the vegan peach ice cream, I sort of made up my own recipe using non-dairy creamer, pureed peaches, a little sugar, and a little brandy. It turned out well, and though egg-less ice cream isn't as creamy as dairy ice cream, I really prefer the less rich vegan version.
Here's a recipe for Vegan Peach Ice Cream from a neat blog, aptly named A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise.
If you want to try other vegan ice cream flavors, check out:
The Vegan Scoop: 150 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream that Tastes Better Than the Real Thing
The recipe for the Blueberry Compote that I used to top the pound cake is from Food Network. I used fresh blueberries instead of frozen, and added just a bit of crushed anise seed since I think figs and anise go well together.
The Maple Apple-Pear Butter tastes great, but it also makes your house, maybe even your whole neighborhood, smell crazy-good while it's simmering away on the stove. I love the smell of cinnamon and cloves.
The recipe for the pound cake is from The Essential Baker by Carole Bloom. This is one of my go-to cookbooks when I'm in a baking mood. It's almost an encyclopedia of baking, and I love that it's organized by flavor.
The Essential Baker: The Comprehensive Guide to Baking with Chocolate, Fruit, Nuts, Spices, and Other Ingredients
Fresh Fig Pound Cake
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 lb. fresh figs, rinsed and dried, and diced
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the inside of a loaf pan and dust it with flour. Shake out the excess.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the salt and toss to blend well. Take 2 tablespoons of this mixture and toss with the fig pieces.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter until it's fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, and cream together well, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically. One at a time, add the eggs to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Add to the butter mixture and blend well.
Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 stages, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the fig pieces and mix well.
Pour the cake batter into a prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes, until the cake is light golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Use a thin spatula to help remove the cake from the pan.
I have more fruit-y goodness to share with you in upcoming posts!