A Summer Stone Fruit Skillet Cake & a Maple Syrup Drizzle

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Fruit with pits….Stone fruit….Drupes….all names for a group of plentiful Summer fruits such as peaches, plums, cherries and apricots. Pluots are a hybrid of plums and apricots. My friend Mark has a tree with hundreds of these beauties hanging heavy and ripe that he was so gracious to share with me. The Rainier Cherries I picked up at a local market. Don’t the cherries look like wee pluots?

I made this cake last week when the temp got down to the high 70’s and low 80’s during the day. I did not mind turning on the oven for a bit to make this simple skillet cake with my stash of stone fruit.

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A generous smearing of softened butter on the skillet surface first, then the sliced pluots & cherries to cover the bottom.

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This batter is a cross between traditional cake & cornbread batters. Orange Flower water & vanilla extract added to the batter created a wonderful aroma in my kitchen while it was baking.

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Is there anything not made better with a bit of Maple Syrup drizzled on top?

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Warm, moist, aromatic & fruity with a cake texture and a hint of the cornmeal crunch. A bit more drizzle on each serving. A good brunch cake or for the late afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea when we all need a break. Here….have a bite.

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A Summer Cornmeal Skillet Cake with a Maple Syrup Drizzle

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp softened butter
  • 1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup turbinado or brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Orange Flour water
  • 3/4 to 1 cup Buttermilk or Whole Milk
  • 3-4 pitted & thickly sliced Pluots
  • 8-10 pitted Rainier Cherries, cut in half if large or left whole if small
  • Maple Syrup to drizzle over the warm cake

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 8 or 10 inch black iron skillet.
  2. Cover the bottom of the skillet with pluots slices and cherries.
  3. In a mixing bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour & brown sugar.
  4. To the bowl add the eggs, Vanilla extract, Orange Flower water and enough of the buttermilk or whole milk to create a batter.
  5. Pour batter over the stone fruit in the skillet.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the center of the cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Adjust baking time to suit your oven. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.
  7. Turn cake upside down on a serving plate and drizzle with pure Maple Syrup.
  8. Serve cut into slices with additional drizzle if desired.

Recipe by: teresablackburnfoodstyling.com           Blog: foodonfifth.com

“A Late August Four-Letter “F” Word To Savor!”

My favorite four letter “f” word in late August is “Figs”. Finally we have some figs to play with. I have been watching the trees in the neighborhood, snooping around the farmer’s markets, just waiting, thinking on simple recipes using tree ripened figs.

“Brown Turkey Figs”

Sitting with a group of food friends the other day we started talking about foods we really were not aware of when we were younger, foods that we now know and love. For most of us Southerners it seems fresh figs just didn’t make it onto our radars until adulthood. I am not sure why. Fig trees thrive around here so it seems that figs would have been a summer staple just like peaches & late summer pears. I think I will do a bit of research to figure out why I never ate fresh figs as a child. As an adult I relish the arrival of this little, lush four-letter word.

“Fresh Figs-Pine Nuts Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake” 

 The corn meal gives it a bit of a crunch as do the pine nuts. The caramelized fig topping drizzled with maple syrup is luscious.

Ingredients: 5 to 6 fresh figs, 2 to 3 cups self-rising white or yellow cornmeal (I used gluten-free); 1 tsp ground cardamom; 1 stick good butter (Kerry gold of course!); 1 cup brown sugar; (divided into two 1/2 cups; 1/4 cups toasted pine nuts; 2 eggs; milk; real maple syrup

Directions:  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a cast iron skillet, preferably, over medium high heat. Add in 1/2 cup brown sugar stirring until melted.

2. Wash & dry figs. Cut each one in half lengthwise. Place cut-side down in skillet in a circular pattern. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts over figs. Turn heat to low allowing the figs to caramelize somewhat for about 5-8 minutes.

3. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients..cornmeal, second 1/2 cup brown sugar & cardamom. Add eggs & enough milk to make a batter.

                                                                   

4. Pour/scrape batter into the hot skillet with the figs on top of the stove. Transfer skillet to the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until cake is golden brown and set in the middle. Remove skillet from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.

5. Place a plate over the top of the skillet and “flip” plate & skillet upside-down. Scrape any caramel left in the pan over the top of the cake. While cake is still hot drizzle generously with real maple syrup. Cool cake for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve slices with additional maple syrup on side if desired.


Bonus Recipe: “Figgy Pancakes”

Ingredients: Same as for the cake recipe with a few extra figs quartered.

It was morning when I was baking the cake and had a bit of batter left over after filling the skillet. While the cake was baking I whipped up some pancakes for breakfast!

Directions: 1. Heat some butter in a small non-stick pan or griddle over high heat. Add a few quartered figs.

2. Pour in batter. When batter is set on bottom and bubbly on top flip pancake and  finish cooking til golden brown.

        

3. Serve immediately with real maple syrup. This was one good pancake recipe!

EXTRA, EXTRA BONUS RECIPE…SEE BELOW…THE EASIEST MOST DELICIOUS WAY TO EAT FRESH FIGS…….DON’T MISS THIS ONE!

“Sea Salt & Raw Sugar Dipped Figs”

Take some wonderful fresh figs. Cut them into quarters. Sprinkle some great sea salt & raw sugar on a saucer. Dip cut edges of figs in salt-sugar mixture and eat.

A sublime treat.

Doesn’t the word “fig” conjure up an image of Adam romping around in the Garden of Eden wearing a fig leaf?

I wondered what figs would be like after they were frozen?

 FYI. Mushy, but aren’t they pretty frozen?

Some “f” word music I like. A little bit different, fun and peppy to help you get figgy.

Album, “The Figs”,  The Figs, 2007 Valcour Records

Album, “What Keeps Me Up At Night”, The Figs 2008

Songs, “Jumbo” & “The Long Goodbye”, Marseille Figs, 2009 Figs of London

Eat good stuff.

Film Strip Father’s Day – Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread

“The Film Strip”

One of my many early food memories is of my Dad eating a glass of icy thick cold, golden-flecked buttermilk with some of my Mother’s warm cornbread crumbled into it. I am pretty sure this combination is mostly a Southern thing.

My Dad was a rounder to say the least. On this eve of Father’s Day I think of him and can still see him sitting in our linoleum floored West Tennessee kitchen. Bare-bulb ceiling light casting harsh shadows, the back screen door keeping out the moths and letting in a summer breeze, sitting, alone in the summer night heat, the beginnings of a hangover about to take hold, quietly eating his buttermilk and cornbread, looking up, seeing me standing in the doorway…a cocked smile on his face, offering me a bite.

Most of my food memories have mental film strips attached to them. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, some are quietly poignant, others from my raucous youth and a few bitter-sweet. I keep them all and they have all helped me as an adult in so many ways. So, on this Father’s Day, while thinking of Dads in general and my own in particular, I came up with a new way to combine buttermilk and cornmeal with a dash of sweet.

“Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread”

(For this recipe I used local, just picked blueberries from the Sylvan Park/West Nashville Farmer’s market and fresh buttermilk from J.D’s Dairy in Russellville, Ky from the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market.)

Ingredients:

1 pint fresh blueberries

1 1/2 cups fresh buttermilk

1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal

2 Tbsp cream

2 tbsp softened butter

1/2  cup raw sugar

3 eggs, separated

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

First things first: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. In a saucepan bring the buttermilk & raw sugar to a low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of the pan slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Stir with the whisk for about 8 minutes with heat on low. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.

2. Beat egg whites with the salt until stiff. Set aside.

3. Whisk butter  & vanilla into the slightly cooled cornmeal mixture.

4. Add egg yolks to mixture & whisk until well blended. Stir in cream with whisk.

5. Gently fold in beaten egg whites. Pour 1/2 of the mixture into a buttered  baking dish &  top with 1/2 of the blueberries. Spread the remainder of the cornmeal mixture over the blueberries.  Top with a scattering of the remaining blueberries.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown, firm but wobbly in the center. This spoon bread will be somewhat like a souffle in puffiness. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve hot with a dusting of powdered sugar. This Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread is really good at room temp or chilled as well.

Father’s Day June 19, 2011

Most Sunday mornings my friend Terry Martin and I work (or don’t work)  the NYTimes Crossword Puzzle. It is our long-standing tradition and unless one of us is out-of-town we honor this custom without fail. Terry has been a bit dismayed that she has so far missed out on my “Blog Food”. This Father’s Day morning (both of our Father’s are long-dead) I made this  “Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread” especially for her. We worked the puzzle, we ate the warm, powdered sugar dusted Spoon Bread, we worked the puzzle, we ate some more…….

finito!

"Darling" cup from the flea market. I think it might have been a child's drinking cup, but found it holds exactly 1/2 cup so it has become my favorite 1/2 measure cup.