Damson and Pear Upside-down Cake

This is my latest fall dessert: an upside-down cake I baked using the wonderful, local damson plums and the very last local pears I got from the farmstand.

The fruit don’t look like much, but they taste wonderful. I wish we had more…

 

 

You can use plums instead of the damsons, but choose small, not large an juicy because they would collapse in the sugar.

This cake is basically another riff on the Apple or Quince Charlotka, the light and easy fruit cake both Costas and I love!  As I posted this recipe I received the Newsletter from Dorie Greenspan with the recipe for a Parisian  upside-down plum cake. Maybe you would like to try that one too…

 

For a 10-inch round cake –or equivalent square (more…)

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Dried Fruit, Pistachio, and Orange Olive Oil Cake

A moist, fragrant, and barely sweet vegan cake that can be a treat with tea or coffee, or enjoyed as a snack any time of day. It should be made a day in advance, and it keeps for at least a week, getting better each day if stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature.

 

My mother used to bake a cake similar to this during Lent. We were not so religious as to follow the rules of the Church, which prohibited eating any food derived from animals during the forty days before Christmas and before Easter (and on many other occasions). We were simply continuing a family tradition which dictated that various foods or sweets should be made at a particular time of year.

The caramelized ginger, my recent addition to the recipe, enhances the rich flavor of this cake that has a dense texture, somewhat like an English fruitcake. 

 

Makes one 12 X 5 inch (30 X 12cm) cake (more…)

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The Seedy Grapes from our old Vines

Most of the grapes our vines produce hardly manage to ripen; wasps and all kinds of insects attack them as soon as they start to blush.

This year, though, we managed to harvest quite a few bunches to fill two large baskets. But our grapes are what the locals call ‘krasostafyla’ (wine-grapes), sweet but filled with seeds and quite difficult to swallow.

 

Early this August, as we finished harvesting the almonds, we noticed quite a few nice bunches of grapes hanging from the old, robust vines that engulf the southern fence of our property, behind the lemon trees.  From these vines we mainly gather the tender grape leaves early in May, to stuff and make our trademark dolmades.

 

Usually the grapes our vines produce hardly manage to ripen; wasps and all kinds of insects attack them as soon as they start to blush. Come harvest time, we just find a few bunches of rotten, half-eaten grapes which are sweet but filled with seeds and difficult to swallow.

 

 

These vines are probably a remnant of the old vineyards our little valley was famous for; the dark grapes used to produce quite good wine in the old days, as I discovered researching the paper I wrote for the 2017 Oxford Symposium: (more…)

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Apricot Tart with Rose Geranium Yogurt Mousse

In June, when we find plenty of lovely local apricots, we buy quite a lot and after eating the more ripe ones, we usually halve, pit and roast the rest, then freeze them to have at hand and make tarts, or top a flat bread, complementing them with spicy smoked cheese.

 

Make the mousse a day ahead, or even a couple of days before. When you are about to serve the dessert, assemble the pre-baked puff pastry and serve the mousse on the side.  

 

Serves 6-8   (more…)

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