Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Active socially

Remember how I was lamenting having no one to cook for a while back?

Scratch that. First we hosted my sister and her gang a couple of weeks back. Then, DP, who is in the throes of teaching his first intensive seminar in his new position (eight students, 8-12 hours a week), decided that the least he could do in the way of hospitality would be to offer each of the half-dozen or so visiting guest speakers a home-cooked meal during their stay. Plus have a cookout for the seminar students and their families. Oh, and invite a prospective student or two (plus families) over for a weekend lunch. Oh, and reciprocate invitations to the people who had us over when we were camping out in the serviced apartment. Oh, and….

Result: three lots of guests at our house last week. Four scheduled for this week. He’s out to dinner tonight with a bunch of people from work; who knows what he’ll have cooked up for next week by the time he gets home.

(DP keeps trying to convince me that he is shy and retiring. I am buying this less than ever.)

Not that I’m complaining, you understand. My grilling technique is improving by the day, and it’s the perfect excuse to a) buy scads of yummy fruit at the farmers’ market and b) find new and exciting ways to feed it to people for dessert. (Because DP isn’t too keen on the fruit desserts, so this way I can get my fix without having to eat the whole thing myself.)

I just wish I’d managed to finish the last bits of unpacking before the hordes descended.

Browned butter bliss
Adapted from dinnerwithjulie
That’s the name Julie has christened it with; to me it is very reminiscent of a dessert I first encountered in England, known as Eve’s Pudding and made with apples (get it?). It’s basically a sponge batter spooned over fruit, and I think the possibilities for summer fruit combinations are endless. Here’s one of the versions I’ve made in the last couple of weeks: the combination of sweet, juicy peaches and sour cherries is pretty fantastic.

4-6 peaches
½ cup sour cherries, pitted*
cinnamon sugar (for fruit and topping)
½ cup/4 oz/120 g butter
¾ cup/5 oz/150 g sugar
2 eggs
1 cup/4 oz/120 g all-purpose/plain flour

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Unwrap the butter and dump it in a small pan; use the butter paper to grease a pie pan or cake tin. Put butter to melt on medium-low heat.

Slice peaches into buttered pan, then scatter cherries on top. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar, and toss a few times. Repeat if desired.

Check the butter; keep it on the heat after it’s melted, until it starts to brown lightly. When you can just smell the delicious fragrance of browning butter, it’s done. Remove from heat and pour into a good-sized mixing bowl. Dump in the sugar and mix thoroughly with the butter. Do the same for the eggs, followed by the flour.

Spread the batter over the fruit mixture. Dust the top with more cinnamon sugar.

Bake until the top is golden and the fruit juices are bubbling, ~45-50 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve warm as is, or with some dairy product—cream (plain or whipped), ice cream, crème fraiche, yogurt—alongside.

Serves 8.**

* I’ve also made a peach-blueberry version, since sour cherries have already disappeared and I need to ration my stash.
** Hint: if you plan to invite fewer than 8 people, you might get a bit of leftovers to nibble on later (see photo).

PS: Pepsi Detox Update: Day Eight and going strong!


Celia said... Best Blogger Tips

Hmmm...sounds delish. How wonderful that your house is full of people again, Nancy! :)

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

"Full" is right, or it will be tomorrow afternoon, when 20+ people show up! (I'm not exactly sure how many--every time I talk to DP he has invited someone else...)

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