Sunday is Preserve Day (but I also made cake)

5 Dec

I woke up late this morning after procrastinating so much last night that at 1am I was soaking the fruit in brandy for the Christmas cake  and preparing and salting vegetables for a mustard pickle that I planned to make today.

The kitchen was a warm and busy place today. We have recently painted, re-arranged and put in a beautiful wooden bench top (hand made by my partner with offcuts from work) and it has fast become a haven of sanctuary away from the television and is the favorite place of us girls to sit, drink tea, chat and eat.

This morning one of my housemate’s sister showed up, so I made us a cardamon coffee (I drop a couple of bashed cardamon pods into the water of the cafeteria and let it brew before pouring it into a cup with a spoonful of agave syrup. It’s lovely!) and so I had company as I started to prepare all of my fruit.

The recipes I chose were: Mustard Pickles; Peach and Honey Jam; Pear and Fennel Seed Chutney; and Kasoundi (recipes to follow).

As I worked, around me thing were being done. While we ate cherries, podded peas and drank tea, hinges were put back on cupboards; broken chairs were fixed; a roast chicken, garlic aioli and baba ganoush was made (by my housemate); countless dishes were done;  a chicken stock was put on with the remains from the chicken and I have just put a cake into the oven while I wait for the Kasoundi to finish cooking.

My feet hurt, my shoulders ache, I am not entirely happy with how the peach jam turned out, I didn’t make my Christmas cake but I do have many jars of delicious preserves and a cake to eat which isn’t really a bad days work for someone who didn’t get out of her pajamas.

Peach, Apricot and Cherry Cake

This is a simple recipe that I have carried around with me for years and I can’t remember where I got it from. Originally the recipe called for figs and raspberries, however I decided to use all of the fruit that I had lying around instead, and personally I think the stone fruit worked far better.

It’s more like a pie than a cake as you make a ‘pastry’, but the pastry is really like a biscuit dough.The outside is all golden and sugary and crunchy but soft and so good fresh out of the oven with cream that it’s hard to stop eating. In fact two of us girls finished off most of it within an hour. It’s all gone already (less than 24 hours later) and I am already wanting more. I might have to get back into the kitchen again. Any excuse to use my Sunbeam!

Ingredients

185g unsalted butter

185g caster sugar

1 egg and 1 egg yolk at room temperature

335g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbs sugar

Soft fruit of choice – the original recipe called for 4 figs, 200g of raspberries and the zest of an orange. I used a peach, 4 apricots and a handful of fresh, pitted cherries. I think  lightly poached pears or apples in vanilla syrup would be really delicious too, but make sure you drain them well.

Method

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and pale.

Add egg and yolk and beat again until combined.

Sift flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt over the bowl and fold in.

Use fingers lightly to bring the ingredients together and press into a ball.

Chill for 15 minutes or until firm enough to roll out.

Divide the dough into 2 and roll out one piece large enough to fit onto the base of a lightly greased 23cm spring form tin. I made it slightly bigger and made it go up the side of the tin about 1 1/2 cms high.

Scatter the base with fruit (I tossed up whether to smear some of my nana’s cumquat marmalade on the base first, but decided against it. Perhaps if I use pears next, I will)

Roll out the remaining dough and fit over the filling, pressing the two edges gently together.

Lightly brush the top with some water and sprinkle with the 2 tbs of sugar.

Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes or until a skewer tests clean.

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