Summer Stone Fruit Glory

July 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

So you may (or may not??) have noticed I’ve been absent for a bit.  I have been eating my way across America for the past month or so and sadly my only excuse for not updating is that, well, I just…. didn’t.  Clever girl. I’ll be adding some travel updates a bit later on with my favorite sustainable food spots in my favorite cities.

Being back in DC is great though, since I felt like I was chasing Spring across the country.  By the end of the trip I was thoroughly, though happily, worn out on cherries and asparagus and ready for some summer food, already! DC Farmers Markets, never ones to disappoint me, gave generously.  Piles of peaches, plums, corn, and the early heirloom tomatoes were waiting for me, and I’m not the sort of girl to let them slip by.  This past Sunday at the Dupont market, I saw my friend Mark Toigo of Toigo Orchards and perhaps because it was the first time I’d seen him since the weather turned warm, or perhaps because it was the end of market, or because he knows I’m unemployed, Mark filled me a shopping bag of his succulent shiro plums, yellow peaches and nectarines.  He sent me home covered in juice and pulp and a rather curious about what a person might do with this much fruit.

After a couple of Facebook and Twitter posts, the top running solutions for plums were thus: Plums in Armagnac or Plum Clafoutis (from my French friend Elodie), Pickled Plums from Carrie Anne Seaver, or “eat them all immediately” from my New Zealand companion Amy.  The idea that I might not just inhale them all raw and fresh was somewhat perplexing to her since we must have littered the highways of NZ with at least 10 lbs of plum pits each.

But I felt like I should do something a bit more creative with them, having been given this great gift. So after deciding on Plum Clafoutis as my first endeavor, I moved on to peaches.  Where I come from in Texas, there are really only 2 things you do with ripe peaches: eat them with gluttonous zeal over the kitchen sink, or put them on Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.  Having no Blue Bell here in DC (and really there is no substitute), and being fairly sure there are ingredients in Blue Bell I don’t want to know about, I decided that homemade peach ice cream was my best course of action.  And with all this heat, what could possibly be better?

Lola and I ate the plum clafoutis with peach ice cream for dessert last night, and I was quite satisfied with my attempts! I pulled both of these recipes from other bloggers I love, so be sure to check them out as well.

Plum Clafoutis (recipe slightly adapted from Orangette)

4-6 small to medium plums (I used a mix of Toigo Shiro plums and tiny sugar plums)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole, organic milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
½ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour ( I use Wade’s Mill)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and lightly butter a 9-inch pie dish (use a pretty one, as you’ll serve it straight from the dish). Arrange the plum wedges on their sides in a decorative pattern on the bottom of the dish.

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add the milk, vanilla, and salt, and whisk to combine.

Sprinkle the flour over the batter, and whisk until smooth. Pour the batter gently over the plums, trying to disturb them as little as possible (though it will likely move around a bit no matter what). Bake the clafoutis until puffed and nicely golden around the edges, about 45-50 minutes. Remove the clafoutis from the oven, and allow it to cool for a half hour or so, during which time you’ll see it deflate and settle a bit. Serve it warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar or with a scoop of peach ice cream.
Yield: 6-8 servings

Toigo’s Peach and Nectarine Ice Cream (recipe adapted from Tartelette)

Makes 5 cups

2 cups ripe peaches and nectarines, skinned and pitted (about 4 pieces of fruit)
1/4 sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split in half (or 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract)

Macerate the fruit in lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar.  Let it hang out in the fridge for now. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale. In the meantime, heat the milk, cream and vanilla bean until steam rises (DO NOT let it boil!). Very gradually add about half of the hot cream to the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent them from scrambling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cream coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes. If using, remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add both seeds and pod back to mixture.

Strain the cream and let cool completely (this takes awhile). Put the fruit into a blender and give it a few pulses, until its just pureed (you can do it less and leave some chunks if you want).  Stir fruit puree into the ice cream base. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions (30 mins on my Cuisinart). Transfer to a container and freeze until firm.

Eat at will to decimate all thoughts of brutal DC heat.

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