Strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches — and many more. Such bounty. Fruit from a neighbor, from your own garden, from the farmers markets, from a fruit stand on the way home from a trip. So now what are you going to do with it all?
Summer is not when I like to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen, especially with the oven on for pies, or a big pot of hot water for canning. So I often freeze fruit for use later in pies or preserves. Raspberries, blueberries and peaches freeze really well. Pears do not. They are better canned. Drying fruit also is an option.
It’s important to follow directions for freezing, canning or preserving fruits. My favorite books with preserving information are “Putting Food By” by Hertzberg, Vaughn and Greene, and the various Ball Blue Book guides.
Sometimes I make fruit jams, preserves and breads to use at home or to give away during the holidays. But given the temperatures we are expecting this week, I’ll freeze and wait for cooler weather. Sometimes everything looks so tempting, you just have to eat it all out of hand right now. Or make a strawberry or peach shortcake.
Recently a friend brought us a big bag of Bing cherries. After we had eaten our fill (don’t eat too many at once!) and left a bowl out on the counter for our guests to nibble on, I fished out an old recipe from Cooking Light Magazine (probably about 15 years ago) for a cherry coffee cake with almond topping.
I’ve altered it a bit over the years and adjusted for altitude. It’s a bit time consuming to make, but well worth it. It’s quite rich, so can be cut in smallish pieces to serve 8 or 10. A cherry pitter will help here if you have one. Mine is old and simple; newer versions are available on Amazon. If you don’t have one, just cut around the pit. Either way, your hands will be pink!
CHERRY COFFEE CAKE WITH ALMOND TOPPING
This is an elegant looking cake, and can serve 8 to 10. Bakes in about 45 minutes.
Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.
Make the topping and set aside:
Blend together until the texture of coarse meal or oatmeal:
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine, cut in small pieces
Then prepare enough cherries to make 2 cups pitted and quartered cherries.
Make the cake batter:
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a separate bowl, mix well:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soft butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt (not Greek)
1 teaspoon each vanilla extract and almond extract
1 large egg
Combine wet and dry and mix well, but do not beat hard.
To assemble: Spread half the cake mixture in baking pan, top with all the cherries, and then a scant 1/4 cup of the topping mix. Cover with remaining cake batter, the rest of the topping, and sprinkle top with about three tablespoons of sliced or slivered almonds. Press lightly into batter.
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes until done and lightly browned. When cool, remove from pan to a pretty serving plate and dust with powdered sugar.
David and Muffy Vhay own Deer Run Ranch Bed and Breakfast. Contact the ranch at 775-882-3643.
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