food

Recipes: What to do with all that summer fruit.

Blueberry Cornmeal Shortbread Tart

Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

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Blueberry shortbread that is part tart and part crumble, in New York, July 23, 2019. This dessert is ideal for slicing into wedges and taking with you to the nearest body of swimmable water. Food Stylist: Alison Roman. (Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott/The New York Times)

For the crust and topping:

1 1/2 cups (190 grams) plain flour

1/3 cup (55 grams) cornmeal

1/3 cup (50 grams) powdered sugar

1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the filling:

455 grams blueberries

1/2 cup (110 grams) brown sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons plain flour

Small pinch of kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees.

2. Make the crust and topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, powdered sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add melted butter, then use your hands or a wooden spoon to combine ingredients until no dry spots remain.

3. Press half of the cornmeal mixture into a 24 cm tart pan with a removable bottom (alternatively, use a 24 cm cake pan or springform pan, lined with parchment), making sure the mixture is evenly pressed on the bottom and about 1 cm up the sides. (Using something large and flat, like the bottom of a measuring cup, will be helpful.) Reserve the remaining mixture.

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4. Make the filling: Toss blueberries, brown sugar, vinegar, flour and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour the fruit into the crust.

5. Crumble the remaining cornmeal mixture over the blueberries, pressing bits of the mixture together into large clumps as you go, as you would with a crisp or coffeecake topping.

6. Bake tart until the blueberry filling is bubbly and thickened, and both the crust and top are nicely browned, 40 to 45 minutes.

7. Let tart cool completely before slicing into triangles and serving. The tart can be baked up to 2 days ahead and stored tightly wrapped at room temperature or refrigerated (especially if your kitchen is hot or humid).

Summer Pudding With Blackberries and Peaches

Total time: 1 hour, plus chilling

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

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A spin on British summer pudding layers sliced bread with berries, peaches and freshly whipped cream, in New York, July 23, 2019. The dessert looks and eats like a giant, berry-stained tiramisù. Food Stylist: Alison Roman. (Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott/The New York Times)

2 pounds (900 grams) peaches or nectarines (about 5), pitted and sliced 3 cm thick

2/3 cup (140 grams) granulated sugar, plus more for serving

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger (optional)

1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) blackberries or raspberries, plus an extra handful for garnish

2 cups (480 millilitres) heavy cream

1/4 cup (35 grams) powdered sugar

1 cup (240 grams) labneh, mascarpone or full-fat Greek yogurt

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1 loaf brioche or white sandwich bread (about 570 grams), crusts removed, bread sliced 3 cm thick

Pinch of kosher salt

1. Combine peaches, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the ginger, if using, in a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, swirling occasionally, until the peaches have started to release their juices (but are not falling apart into mush), 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl; set aside to cool completely.

2. Without rinsing out the pot (there’s no need), combine the berries and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook, swirling occasionally, until the berries have started to release their juices (but are not falling apart into mush), 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl, separate from the peaches; set aside to cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer or a whisk, beat cream and powdered sugar until spreadable, pillowy, medium peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in labneh until well blended.

4. Line a 24 cm springform cake pan with plastic wrap so that there is ample overhang. (A regular cake pan will also work; just make sure it has high sides or you might need to make the pudding in two vessels.)

5. Place one layer of sliced bread on the bottom. Cut the bread to fit as needed to make sure there is an even layer with no obvious gaps (aesthetics don’t matter here, as it’ll be covered up).

6. Spoon 1/3 of the berry juices onto the bread to thoroughly soak, followed by half of the berries themselves. Spoon 1/3 of the peach juices onto the bread and berries, followed by half of the peaches themselves.

7. Spread 1/3 of the cream mixture onto the fruit and top with another layer of bread, making sure to fill any obvious gaps with bread that’s cut to fit. Top bread with another 1/3 of the berry juices and all of the remaining berries, followed by 1/3 of the peach juices and all of the remaining peaches. Top with 1/3 of the cream mixture, setting the remaining cream mixture aside in the refrigerator.

8. Place another layer of bread on top, making sure to fill any obvious gaps, especially around the edges, with bread that’s cut to fit. Spoon remaining 1/3 of the blackberry and peach juices on top, making sure to stain the entire surface. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top and then place a plate on top of the plastic. Rest a heavy can (or another medium-sized, relatively heavy, food-safe object) on top to lightly compress the whole shebang. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

9. When you’re ready to serve, crush a handful of berries with a sprinkling of sugar; let sit for a few minutes. Remove springform sides and plastic wrap. (If using a regular cake pan, lift the pudding out by the excess plastic and transfer the entire pudding to a plate, platter or cake stand, removing plastic wrap.)

10. Take the remaining heavy cream mixture and top the pudding, swirling in the crushed berries to create streaks and swirls. Slice (or spoon) the pudding and serve. Pudding can be assembled three days ahead, stored tightly wrapped and refrigerated.

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Salted Apricot-Honey Cobbler

Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

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A buttery salted cobbler made with apricots and a healthy drizzle of honey, in New York, July 23, 2019. The apricots are cut in large pieces and then baked until jammy and tender under faintly sweet oatcakes. Food Stylist: Alison Roman. (Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott/The New York Times)

For the shortcake topping:

1 1/3 cups (175 grams) plain flour

1/2 cup (55 grams) quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 3 cm pieces, chilled

1/2 cup (120 millilitres) heavy cream, plus more for brushing shortcakes

Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

For the filling:

2 pounds (900 grams) apricots, pitted and halved (or quartered if very large)

1/4 cup (60 millilitres) honey

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice

Pinch of kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees.

2. Make the shortcake topping: Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until there are no large chunks left. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and mix just until blended, then turn the dough out onto lightly floured work surface.

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3. Knead dough just until it’s no longer super-sticky, and then pat the dough out so it’s 3 cm thick. (The shape here doesn’t matter; you’ll be cutting out circles.) Using a 5 cm round cutter, or something approximately that size (water glasses and Mason jars also work), punch out as many shortcakes as you can. Gently gather and re-pat the scraps so they’re 3 cm thick and repeat until all the dough is used. You should have 8 or 9 shortcakes.

4. Prepare the filling: Toss apricots with honey, cornstarch, lime juice and kosher salt in a 20 cm x 28 cm baking dish, then flip the fruit so they are all cut-side up. The apricot pieces will overlap a bit, and this is fine. Top with shortcakes; they will puff and spread quite a bit, so leave them well spaced. The idea is to have lots of fruit exposed once baked, so don’t worry about the shortcakes covering every square inch. Brush the shortcakes with cream, and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar and flaky sea salt.

5. Bake until shortcakes are golden brown and the juices of the apricot have thickened and bubbled up around the edges of the baking dish, 40 to 45 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before eating (though it’s even better at room temperature). This cobbler is the best the day it’s made, but it can be baked a day ahead and stored tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Frozen Melon With Crushed Raspberries and Lime

Total time: 15 minutes, plus 4 hours’ freezing

Yield: 6 servings

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Frozen melon inspired by Italian ice, in New York, July 23, 2019. Lime juice and zest keep it from veering too sweet and one-dimensional in flavor. Food Stylist: Alison Roman. (Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott/The New York Times)
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4 cups (640 grams) cut melon, such as cantaloupe, watermelon or charentais, or a mixture (buy it precut, or remove the rind of a whole melon and cut into 5 cm chunks to get 4 cups)

1/2 cup (120 millilitres) fresh lime juice, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons sugar, plus more as needed

90 grams raspberries

1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest

Sumac (optional)

Flaky sea salt (optional)

1. Blend melon in a food processor or blender until completely smooth; you should have about 4 cups purée. Transfer to a 23 x 10 cm loaf pan (or a shallow baking dish, if you have space for it in your freezer).

2. Add 1/2 cup lime juice and 2 tablespoons sugar and stir to blend; season with more lime juice and sugar, as needed. The mixture should be fairly tart and sweet. (The sweetness dulls once the mixture is frozen, so stay on the sweeter side now.) Place in freezer and let freeze until completely solid, anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on your freezer.

3. Once the mixture is frozen, use a spoon or fork to scrape the frozen melon into a fluffy pile of ice. If it becomes soft or melty when scraping, place it in the freezer until it’s solid enough to scrape again.

4. If serving immediately, lightly pack some of the ice into serving glasses or bowls. (If not, transfer the ice to a resealable container and freeze until ready to serve. The frozen melon can be prepared up to 2 weeks ahead; if scraped, it might need a little re-fluffing before serving.) Top each serving with raspberries and use a spoon or fork to crush them into the ice. Top with more ice, followed by a bit of lime zest, and then a little sumac and flaky salt, if using.

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Cake

Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

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A strawberry cake in New York, July 23, 2019. This cake has the taste and feel of an old-fashioned doughnut. Food Stylist: Alison Roman. (Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott/The New York Times)
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1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan

2 cups (255 grams) plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup (70 grams) granulated sugar

1/3 cup (75 grams) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

3/4 cup (180 millilitres) buttermilk

190 grams strawberries, hulled and sliced 0.5 cm thick

3 tablespoons granulated sugar, for sprinkling

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees. Smear or brush a bit of butter onto the bottom of a 23 cm cake pan and line with parchment paper (either cut to fit the bottom, or leaving some hanging over the edges for easy removal).

2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.

3. In a stand mixer (or using an electric hand mixer and a large bowl), beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla together on medium-high, periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything incorporates, until the mixture is pale, light, fluffy and creamy, about 5 minutes.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to blend between additions. (This is a good time to scrape down the sides again.)

5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and carefully add half the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, beating just until no large lumps remain.

6. Using a spatula, gently fold in half the strawberries and transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan. Scatter with remaining strawberries and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

7. Bake until cake is puffed, deeply golden brown on the top and pulling away at the sides, 45 to 50 minutes. (It should spring back slightly when pressed in the centre and appear fully baked where the strawberries meet the cake.)

8. Let cake cool completely before removing it from the pan (either by inverting or lifting with the parchment lining). The cake can be baked up to three days ahead and stored tightly wrapped at room temperature, or refrigerated.

Alison Roman/Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott, © 2020 THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Feature image: Supplied/The New York Times.

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