New York Magazine

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Short and Sweet

Barely cooked desserts that bring out the best in fruit.

ShareThis

How about a nice piece of fruit? Better yet, how about several nice pieces of fruit, cooked just enough to intensify their peak-season flavor (something even the fickle gods of the Greenmarket can't guarantee). To finish a summer meal, nothing tops a juicy peach -- except maybe the caramel-drenched peach upside-down cake from Craft. Or Théo's fragrant, cinnamon-spiced blackberry cobbler with candied-ginger cream. We love the pâtisserie-window looks of the rustic apricot galette from the just-published Chez Panisse Fruit, with Jacques Pépin's "crunch tart" dough and a mix of crushed almonds and amaretti that Alice Waters and her cooks call "moondust." There's a very-berry summer pudding from JUdson Grill that could pass for a napoleon: a layered construction of cinnamon brioche toast and crème fraîche–enriched yogurt. A barely cooked berry compote nestles up to Craft's fluffy steamed lemon pudding. We haven't decided whether frying rum-macerated peaches in a light and crunchy beer beignet batter, as they do at Town, completely obliterates any vestigial nutritional benefits, but frankly we couldn't care less. And what do you call Blue Fin's glass full of citrusy cream, juicy watermelon, and cantaloupe, and a shower of shaved melon granita? Simply parfait.

Photographed by Richard Jung

Food styling by Alison attenborough; prop styling by philippa brathwaite. page 60: spoon by calvin klein, fabric from b&J fabrics. page 61: flatware by calvin klein; pillowcase from Bergdorf Goodman. previous pages: left, glass plate from bark; beaded place mat from bergdorf goodman; fork by calvin klein. Right, glass cake stand by calvin klein; green planter from bergdorf goodman. this page: bowl and cushion cover from bergdorf goodman. Opposite, top: bowls from bark; tablecloth from bergdorf goodman.

The Recipes

Peach Upside-Down Cake
Karen DeMasco
Craft

Makes a 10-inch cake, serving 6 to 8.
Caramel:
6 tablespoons butter plus additional for the pan
1 cup sugar
4 to 6 fresh peaches, halved and pitted (nectarines, apricots, or plums can be substituted)
Cake:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel: Butter a 10-inch cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the paper. Place 2 tablespoons water and sugar in a saucepan, and stir together. Cook over high heat, swirling the pan (do not stir), until the mixture turns a golden caramel color. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the butter (be careful; the mixture will foam). Pour the caramel into the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with the peach halves, cut-side-down.

Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the sugar and melted butter to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat until combined. Add eggs, and whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the buttermilk and vanilla extract together. With mixer set on low speed, add the dry ingredients by thirds, alternating with the liquid ingredients, to the butter mixture. When it's all fully blended, pour the batter into the pan over the peaches and bake, rotating it front-to-back after the first 15 minutes, for about 50 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a platter.

Lemon Steamed Pudding with Berry Compote
Karen DeMasco
Craft
Serves 8.

Pudding:
Softened butter for ramekins
3/4 cup granulated sugar plus additional for ramekins
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 2 lemons, finely chopped
Berry compote:
2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Pudding: Grease the insides of eight 4-ounce ramekins with butter and coat with granulated sugar.Combine in a mixing bowl the buttermilk, lemon juice, and the egg yolks. Mix the flour, remaining sugar, salt, and lemon zest in another bowl. Whip the egg whites in a third bowl until soft peaks form. Whisk the dry ingredients with the buttermilk mixture, and fold in the egg whites gently, a third at a time. Ladle the batter into the prepared ramekins, filling them almost to the top. Place the puddings in a roasting pan, and pour warm water around them until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover with foil, and bake for 18 minutes or until puddings begin to rise slightly. Remove the foil, rotate the pan front-to-back, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until pudding is golden and springs back when touched.

Compote: While the pudding is baking, place the blueberries in a saucepan with the sugar and cook over medium heat until berries just start to burst. Remove from heat and fold in raspberries. Serve puddings at room temperature, or reheat in a warm-water bath before inverting onto plates and surrounding with compote.

Apricot Galette
adapted from Alice Waters's Chez Panisse Fruit
(Harpercollins; $34.95)
Serves 8.

Dough:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2–inch pieces

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in 4 tablespoons of the butter, mixing until the dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Cut in the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter with the pastry blender, until the biggest pieces are the size of large peas, or a little larger.

Dribble 7 tablespoons of ice water into the flour mixture, tossing and mixing between additions, until the dough just holds together. (Do not pinch or squeeze the dough, or it will toughen.) Keep tossing the mixture until it starts to pull together; it will look rather ropy, with some dry patches. If it looks like there are more dry patches than ropy parts, add another tablespoon of water and toss until it comes together. Divide the dough in half, press each half into a 4-inch disk, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out (the dough will keep in the freezer for a few weeks).

When you are ready to roll out the dough, take one disk from the refrigerator at a time. Let it soften slightly so that it is malleable but still cold. Unwrap the dough and press the edges of the disk so that there are no cracks. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Brush off excess flour with a dry pastry brush. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before using. (Rolled-out dough may be frozen and used the next day.) Makes enough for 2 open galettes or 1 covered tart.

Galette:
1 tablespoon ground almonds
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon amaretti, pulverized
10 ounces galette dough, rolled into a 14-inch circle and chilled
1 and 1/2 pounds ripe apricots
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Apricot jam (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a pizza stone, if you have one, on a lower rack.

Toss the ground almonds, flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and pulverized amaretti together.

Remove the prerolled dough from the refrigerator or freezer, and place on a buttered or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the almond-amaretti powder evenly over the pastry, leaving a 1 and 1/2-inch border uncoated. Cut apricots in half (in quarters if they are large), removing pits. Arrange the fruit, skin-side-down, in concentric circles on the dough, making a single layer of snugly touching pieces, leaving the border bare. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the sugar evenly over the fruit.

While rotating the tart, fold the border of exposed dough up and over itself at regular intervals, crimping and pushing it up against the fruit, creating a rim that resembles a length of rope. Pinch off any excess dough. (Make sure there are no breaks that will let juices leak.) Brush the border with melted butter, and sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake in the lower third of the oven (preferably on a pizza stone) for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the crust is well browned and its edges are slightly caramelized. As soon as the galette is out of the oven, use a large metal spatula to slide it onto a cooling rack, to keep it from getting soggy.Let cool for 20 minutes. If you want to glaze the tart, brush the fruit lightly with a little warmed apricot jam. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.

Summer Pudding
(deconstructed)
Deborah Snyder
Judson Grill
Serves 6.

Fruit compote:
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 lemons, finely zested and juiced
3/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
2 pints strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved
1 pint blueberries, rinsed and picked through
1 pint raspberries and/or blackberries

Cinnamon butter:
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Crème fraîche yogurt:
1 pint whole-milk yogurt, drained overnight through cheesecloth
1 cup crème fraîche, whipped
2 tablespoons sugar
Large brioche loaf
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Compote: Place the vanilla seeds and pod, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the berries, and stir until they begin to pop and release their juices, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool.

Cinnamon butter: Place the butter, cinnamon, and sugar in a bowl, and cream together until smooth.

Crème fraîche yogurt: Fold the yogurt, crème fraîche, and sugar together in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the puddings.

Brioche: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the brioche into 18 thin slices. With a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 18 disks. Spread each circle with cinnamon butter on one side and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Place the circles on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Assembly: Cover one of the brioche disks with about 2 tablespoons of the compote, place 1 tablespoon of the yogurt mixture in the center, and place a second circle of brioche on top. Cover with more of the berry compote and cream, and cap with a third disk. Repeat to make five more puddings. Place the puddings on a flat platter and refrigerate for no longer than 4 hours. Serve at room temperature, surrounded on a plate by the remaining compote and yogurt.

Frozen Melon Parfait
JOSEPH MURPHY
BLUE FIN
Serves 6.
2 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup cream
Zest of 1 orange
1 cantaloupe
1 Sugar Baby watermelon

Whip the yolks with 3 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl, and set aside. Whip the egg whites until fluffy in a large bowl, and gradually add 5 tablespoons sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold all the ingredients together, along with the zest. Fill six goblets halfway with the parfait, and place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours.

Using a small melon baller, scoop 2 cups of balls from each melon, and set aside. Cut out the remaining cantaloupe flesh, and purée with sugar to taste, to make about 1/2 cup. Pour the purée into a shallow container, and freeze. Cut the remaining watermelon into chunks, strain the juice from them, place the juice in a container, and freeze.

Scrape the frozen melon mixtures with a spoon or fork to form granules of melon ice. Arrange the melon balls over the parfait, and top with the ice granules.

Blackberry Cobbler
Sonia El-Nawal
Théo
Serves 6.

Topping:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:
4 pints blackberries
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Ginger cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons finely diced candied ginger

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cobbler: Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, for 2 minutes. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together. Mix milk, egg, and vanilla extract together in another bowl. Add a third of the dry mixture to the butter mixture, beating on low speed, then a third of the wet mixture; continue alternating until all are combined.

Butter a 5-by-9-inch Pyrex dish, and sprinkle with sugar to coat. Toss the blackberries with the sugars, cinnamon, and cornstarch to coat and transfer to the Pyrex dish. Spoon the topping over the berries. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden.

Ginger cream: Whip the cream with the powdered sugar. Fold in the candied ginger. Serve the cobbler warm topped with ginger cream.

Summer Fruit Beignets
Serves 6.
Nancy Kershner
Town

Batter:
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup beer
3 tablespoons melted butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Fruit:
4 large ripe peaches, skinned, pitted, and cut into 6 to 8 pieces (nectarines, cape gooseberries, plums, or apricots may be substituted)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup rum
Confectioners' sugar for garnish
Peanut or canola oil for frying

Batter: Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Place the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a whisk. Add the beer, milk, butter, and eggs to a measuring cup, and gradually pour into the bowl while whisking at medium speed until the mixture is smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove any lumps, and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Additional milk can be added; the mixture should be about as thick as pancake batter. (The batter will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)

Fruit: Sprinkle the fruit with sugar and rum, and allow to macerate at room temperature for 1 hour. Fill a large saucepan with about 2 inches of oil, and heat to 350 degrees. (If you don't have a thermometer, test the oil temperature by dropping in a bit of batter; it should float and turn golden in 2 to 3 minutes.) Dip the fruit, one piece at a time, into the batter, and lower gently into the oil. Fry for 2 minutes, turn, and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 2 more minutes. Serve warm, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar. Chocolate sauce and ice cream are great accompaniments.

CAPTIONS

life's a peach: Craft's peach upside-down cake; opposite, Blue Fin's frozen melon parfait.

what goes around: Above, JUdson Grill's summer pudding.

another coast heard from: Below, Alice Waters's apricot galette.

next stop, café du monde:Right, Town's summer fruit beignets.

cream of the crop: Left, Théo's blackberry cobbler with ginger cream; below, Craft's lemon steamed pudding with berry compote.


Related:

Advertising
Current Issue
Subscribe to New York
Subscribe

Give a Gift

Advertising