Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer's bountiful baking

Summer vacation is already halfway over.  I am just getting into lazy mode.  Sleeping in is not my forte.  I have spent time at the dentist, the chiropractor, my regular doctor and with a massage therapist.  Nothing major.  Yearly physical and a stiff neck.  Wine therapy has been administered periodically with friends.  Son #2 and the World's Cutest Puppy have been here for a few weeks. Next week, they will be moving on to the next chapter of their lives, Charlotte and law school.  I will miss cooking for the boy and having the pup at my feet as I move around the kitchen.

Son #1, EB and their puppy came to the beach.  So did Sister-in-law, Brother-in-law and their pup. No shark sightings or feedings at Sunset last week.  Except for this one--

Thank goodness.
A long weekend in New York City is coming up.  I won the trip at our annual school auction and we will celebrate our anniversary and my birthday there.  We have reservations at Tribeca Grill.  Did you get that memo, Mr. De Niro?  Will you be around or will you be sailing around the Riviera sans moi?


Older, handsome men...  Sigh.
Back to the subject at hand.  One of the best parts of summer is the fresh fruit available, in season and inexpensive.

Cherries have been made into scones, cake and clafoutis.
This week, it's been blueberries.  And today, they found themselves baked into a recipe from The Barefoot Contessa.

Next week, I think that I will buy some peaches and rustle up a Cowboy Skillet Cake or peach muffins.  Or maybe a peach cobbler.  Stay tuned!

Blueberry Crumb Cake
Ina Garten, The Food Network

(As you can see, I made mine "crumb-less."  It is still amazing, trust me.)

Streusel topping:
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1-1/3 c. all-purpose flour

Combine sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.  Stir in melted butter and then the flour.  Mix well.  Set aside.

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest (I used the zest from one medium-sized lemon)
2/3 c. sour cream
1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. blueberries (I used 1 pint- I tossed them with about 2 Tbsp. of the flour mixture before adding the to the batter to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.)
Confectioners sugar for sprinkling, if desired

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
Cream butter and sugar on high speed of an electric mixer for 5 minutes, scraping the bowl with a spatula a couple of times.  Reduce mixer to low speed and add eggs one a time.  Add vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream and mix until well-blended.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. (This is when I take out about 2 Tbsp. and mix with the berries.)
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to batter, just until combined.  Do not overmix.
Gently fold in berries with a spatula.
Spoon batter in the prepared pan and spread evenly with the spatula.
With your fingers, crumble the topping over the batter.
Bake 40-50 minutes (mine baked exactly 40) or until cake tester comes out clean.
Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners sugar, if desired.

Bon appétit, July,  fresh fruit and Robert De Niro!