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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #73: The Fruits of Summer

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I made a blueberry coffeecake in an 8 x 8" (20.32 cm x same) with a whole pint of blueberries in it. I've made this coffeecake before, but didn't like it quite as well this time. Instead of a streusel topping, sometimes I like to use lightly sweetened cream cheese topping.

 

I guess, in the past I just stirred a little sugar into a block of cream cheese. This time I whipped an egg and combined it with the cream cheese and a little sugar for the topping, like cheesecake batter. It's still fine, but the cheesecake batter sort of melded into the cake batter, so there's no real texture difference, like the prior versions I've made. I like biting into that tangy, contrasting blob of cream cheese like the way I was making it before. It's a lot like blueberry cheese danish in the no egg version, and not so much in this one. The egg batter pours over the cake and the eggless version gets dolloped on top.

 

These berries came from Michigan, but I threw the container out and can't remember the town. Probably too late for local NC blueberries.

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Peach "gratin". Sliced peaches, 30% milk fat sour cream, 1/2 package of ginger drink mix crystals and a trip under the broiler. 

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Small summer torte (has been much discussed).  Also posted in Air Fryer topic. I think you can find the recipe by googling Plum Torte in New York Times.  It is a Marian Burros recipe. Here.

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I don't know why, but I've never really eaten many blueberries.  I've been making this summer "crostatta" for years now, basically a round of your favorite pasty dough or puff pastry, some fruit in the middle, and whatever type of crumb topping you like.  I usually make it with huckleberries, but we have had, and still are having, a wonderful blueberry season up here.  Probably won't last through the end of this week as our night temps are now dipping into the 40's.

 

I didn't do anything to the blueberries other than place them in the center of the dough.  Then brushed the edges of the pastry with egg wash, folded the pastry to create a sort of open pillow, then the crumb topping-a mixture of sugar, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.  The crostatta was brushed with more egg wash and sprinkled with demera sugar, then into the oven at 375 for about 35 minutes. It's really easy and really delicious.

 

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Ginger drink crystals to top a fruit dessert. Absolute freakin' genius.

 

On the list to look for at Kroger tomorrow.

 

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The rumtopf is pretty full these days. I just added another peach and nectarine. Not so many different fruits this time: raspberries, strawberries, plums, peaches, nectarines. I also couldn't help adding some mango - I figure it's local and seasonal somewhere!! There's just a bit more room and I hope to add some red grapes in a couple of weeks. Then I'll just let it hang out until Thanksgiving.

 

That blueberry crostata above is beautiful. My parents always used "blueberries" and "huckleberries" interchangeably, and I thought they were the same thing until about 10 years ago when someone wrote about them on eGullet. I don't think I've ever seen a huckleberry, much less tasted one. This needs to be remedied, but I suspect it will have to wait until next season. (I don't remember ever seeing them in NY, but they must be sold somewhere.)

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I haven't made Rumtopf in a while! Really should do one again next year. In the past I have also added ripe Mangoes, delicious. 

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Blueberries and huckleberries are two very different berries. Fresh huckleberries are usually only sold in farmer's markets up here in the Pacific Northwest, but I have seen them in small upscale grocery stores.  The season is usually July-August-September, but this year they came early.  We had them in the Spokane area by mid-July and they were done by the third week of August.  Huckleberries do freeze well, so we have some local farmer's market co-ops where we can buy them frozen year-round, and I think there are some online sources.  When I tasted the blueberry crostatta I realized why I don't buy many blueberries.  They just don't have the burst of sweet yet tangy flavor and the floral perfume of a huckleberry. So when it comes to small, and smaller, purplish blue round berries, I prefer the huckleberry.

 

I made some blueberry muffins this morning and they were decent, but.................... 

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I finally got around to trying pork with broiled peaches.  The peaches were halved, sprinkled with sugar, given a drizzle of bourbon, and broiled until caramelized and collapsed.  The pork tenderloin was cooked sous vide then quickly browned in a hot pan.  Aside from salt and pepper, I think the main seasoning on the pork was a sprig of rosemary between the two tenderloin halves during the sous vide step.  (This was several days ago and I wasn't taking the time to take notes.)

 

Proof of concept: good.  I think the hasselback pork treatment noted earlier would have been even better, but my kitchen time is limited these days.  My other half wasn't crazy about the sweetness of peaches with pork (he's more of a salt guy than a sweet guy) but I'm enjoying the leftovers.  There's a method to my madness.

 

 

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