The days dwindle down but not the garden. More and more and more tomatoes and peppers find their way into huge piles — like highway department de-icer in the winter — on the dining room table.
I made a thick, sweet pasta sauce today (7 pounds tomatoes in 4 servings sauce) that tastes of tomatoes, a few fresh herbs and the echo of garlic only. I made 2 quarts of applesauce last night, and that’s using only a fraction of the hard little apples out there on the tree, hard little apples that have a big taste when simmered with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and a pinch of salt. I also made a Deborah Madison summer squash soup with curry spices today, and it, too, has a big, sweet flavor, exotic and round without tasting anything like commercial curry powder.
But Friday was baking with summer fruit day. I made a peach-raisin-almond crisp and froze it for when the youngest is here in a week or so, and I also made a nectarine-plum upside-down cake from a King Arthur flour recipe. My husband Livermush would like one every week, please, from now on. He loves cake and this has a sweet, moist cake holding up a layer of soft, carmelized fruit in stained-glass colors.
King Arthur Flour fruit upside-down cake
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
As much sliced stone fruit as it takes to cover an 8-inch-square baking pan (24 to 28 ounces)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use, you guessed it, KAF)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg.
Topping: Melt butter and mix with brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Spoon mixture into ungreased 8-inch-square baking pan. Heat over to 375.°
Cake: Slice nectarines 1/4-inch thick. Lay slices in prepared pan and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar, then beat in milk, egg and vanilla. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt, then stir into egg mixture. Gently pour batter over fruit in pan.
Bake cake for 45 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from side of pan and springs back from touch. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in pan on rack. Invert pan onto serving platter and let it sit 1 minute more before removing pan. If any fruit sticks to pan, carefully scrape it off and replace it on cake. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Making 6 to 8 servings.