Mixed Berry Spoon Cake

Berry Almond Spoon Cake in a scalloped baking dish
It’s big. It’s frighteningly big – delivered on Monday by two terrifyingly loud men driving an enormous truck with the words “Sears” written on the outside. “Sears” must be another name for “Pit of Hell” because surely that’s where they came from. I shot under the bed as soon as they rumbled into the driveway, barely escaping with my life. They put that thing – that stacked, humongously large, mechanical thing, in the place my human mysteriously calls the “laundry room,” but has always been known to me as my dining room and bathroom. And now it’s the lair of that grotesque, murderous thing. I will not…I cannot…be in the same room with it. I am quite sure it would swallow me whole should I step within 10 feet of it – a little feline amuse bouche. After it arrived, I didn’t eat or pee for two days, fearing my demise, should I get too close. My human, anxious for my bladder’s capacity, finally moved my bathroom outside of that hideous thing’s striking distance, and not a moment too soon – I was pacing and loudly professing my need to relieve myself, like a pathetic dog at the back door. It’s humiliating to act like that, but necessary when your life’s genuinely at stake. She wasn’t so quick to move my meals to a new location. She thought she’d wear me down. Once I smelled chicken and gravy breakfast emanating from that hellacious pit, she believed I would venture forth, but I did not succumb. One glance at that looming thing and I’d dash to safety. My fear was stronger than her resolve and she finally moved my bowl from the view of that monstrous thing, concerned I’d collapse from my hunger strike. It’s been seven days now and I’ve gotten no closer to its den. My human has tried enticing me with my favorite treats scattered at the mouth of its lair, but I will not budge. I see through her ruse – while I’m innocently nibbling away at my “treaties,” that gruesome thing gobbles me up in its maw. Why my human wants me dead I can’t comprehend – I thought she loved me…she tells me so, anyway. I obviously can’t trust her – or that humongous thing. The world is a very scary place and I must be vigilantly cautious – or face an untimely death. For now, that monster hasn’t stirred from its lair and I feel safe here napping on the couch. I’m lucky to still be alive.

(If my cat, Wasabi, could talk).


Mixed Berry Spoon Cake

Rather than the traditional fruit compote spooned over pound cake, this recipe calls for spooning the pound cake on the fruit and baking both for a comforting treat.

Ingredients

  • 2 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰. Scatter berries in a small 4-cup baking dish. In a medium bowl, beat together butter and 3 Tablespoons sugar until light an fluffy. Beat in egg, salt and almond extract. Fold in flour.
  2. Dollop batter over top of berries. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon sugar and sliced almonds. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve warm, plain or with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Caramelized Nectarines

Caramelized Nectarines in a white casserole dish
The annual nectarine onslaught has begun again and, in fact, the prolific bounty has already managed to snap two branches with the weight. Harvest time is brief with pounds upon pounds of sweet fruit ready all at once. I want to rescue each juicy orb from Newton’s law, plucking them from the tree before they fall, but each morning I find a dozen plump globes bruised and broken upon the ground, their potential wasted. In my efforts to salvage the masses in the past, I’ve bubbled large caldrons of steamy nectarine jam, resulting in three dozen jars “put up.” One can only eat so much jam, however, and most of it remains languishing in the cupboard. I’ve also undertaken a raft of baked goods, but it’s a losing battle – a recipe requires a pound or two of fruit, while I’m picking a few pounds each DAY. I’ve tried freezing the fruit, but that resulted in mushy brown thawed blobs. I picked the first fat, ripe nectarines this week, preparing them with a drizzle of butter, sprinkle of sugar, and quick broil. I know I can’t save them all, but over the next few weeks, I’m willing to try.


Caramelized Nectarines

  • Servings: 2-4 people
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My nectarines are small.  With larger nectarines, you’ll probably only need two or three to reach the amount needed for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 10-12 oz. Nectarines, sliced in half and pitted.
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (preferably turbinado, like Sugar in the Raw)
  • Pinch cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler. Place nectarines, cut side up in a small casserole dish. Melt butter in microwave or small saucepan. Add salt and vanilla to butter and stir to combine.
  2. Drizzle butter over nectarine halves, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Broil nectarines about 4” from broiler element for approximately 8 minutes until fruit is bubbling and beginning to brown. Enjoy plain or serve with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.