Summer is by far my favorite season, not only because I love the sun and being warm, wearing loose skirts and t-shirts and bathing in the sun, but also because it’s the summer when I can find some of my favorite fruits to use in desserts – berries. Nothing compares to the taste of fresh berries in the summer, whether it’s a simple Flourless Chocolate Cake topped with the most delicate raspberries or some Puff Pastry Tarts beautifully decorated with raspberries and blueberries. Unfortunately, summer in Romania only lasts 3 months, maybe 4 if we’re lucky to have a warm September so I was forced to find a solution to preserve the amazing taste of summer berries and the most convenient and reliable one was to freeze them. However, I only freeze blueberries as they preserve amazingly when frozen and raspberries. In find frozen strawberries to be tasteless and their texture after defrosting is not so appealing so I only use fresh strawberries when possible. I also freeze cherries and sour cherries, pitted, in small zip lock bags, just enough to use for a batch of muffins, cupcakes or breads and cakes. My fruit frezzing strategy goes something like this: I wash the fruits well and dry them on paper towels then I spread the fruits in a thin layer on baking trays lined with parchment paper. Then I place the trays in the freezer for 2-3 hours until the fruits are frozen. Once frozen, they are easier to handle so I transfer them in zip lock bags and place back in the freezer. I love this method because this way fruits are not squashed or crushed, they freeze whole. There is one exception though – I chose the biggest, most beautiful fruits for decoration and place them in an airtight, transparent container, carefully, in layers and put them in the freezer to use as decoration in the winter. I find this to be easier rather than mess up a whole bag of frozen fruits to find that perfect one that would fit the top of my cupcake.
Do you freeze any other summer fruits? Do you have any other method? Any other ideas would be much appreciated.
- 125g butter, softened
- 150g sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 225g all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 100ml milk
- 80g fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 60g all-purpose flour
- 40g ground almonds
- 1 pinch salt
- 20g sugar
- 50g butter, chilled and cubed
- 30g sliced almonds
- Mix the flour, ground almonds, salt and sugar in a bowl.
- Add the butter and rub the ingredients together until sandy. Work quickly to prevent the butter from melting.
- Stir in the sliced almonds and place in the fridge until needed.
- Preheat your oven to 170C and line a round cake pan (20cm diameter) with baking paper.
- Sift the flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and place aside until needed.
- Combine the sugar with butter in a bowl and mix at least 5 minutes until creamy and fluffy.
- Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla then add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition.
- Fold in the flour, followed by milk.
- Dust the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour and fold them gently into the batter.
- Spoon the batter into your prepared pan and top it with the crumble you made earlier.
- Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Since I have a gas oven and it's always tricky to bake in it, I only rely on the toothpick test - insert a toothpick in the center of the cake; if the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done but if it comes out with traces of raw batter, the cake needs a few more mintues of baking.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan before transfering on a platter and slicing.
Sunt o persoana care iubeste vara, soarele, fustele si bluzele vaporoase si tot ceea ce are vara mai bun de oferit in materie de fructe si legume. Greu ma adaptez la frig si adesea ies din casa infofolita pana in dinti si abia astept sa vina primavara. Insa cum in Romania vara 365 de zile pe an e imposibil, m-am cam resemnat si incerc sa tin cu dintii de anotimpul asta frumos cat pot eu de mult – asta include si congelarea fructelor in timpul verii pentru a ma bucura de aroma lor si in toiul iernii. Printre fructele pe care le congelez se numara zmeura, afinele, ciresele si visinele – dintre toate fructele, mi se pare ca acestea sunt cele care isi pastreaza forma si aroma cel mai bine. Asa se face ca imi permit chiar si iarna sa fac astfel de torturi, pline de fructe zemoase, frumos colorate si delicate precum acest tort cu afine si topping crocant cu unt si migdale feliate.
- 125g unt la temperatura camerei
- 150g zahar
- 1 lingurita extract de vanilie
- 1 lingurita coaja de lamaie
- 3 oua
- 225g faina alba
- 1/4 lingurita bicarbonat
- 1 lingurita praf de copt
- 1 praf de sare
- 100ml lapte
- 80g afine congelate sau proaspete
- 1 lingura faina
Topping crocant de migdale:
- 60g faina
- 40g pudra de migdale
- 1 praf de sare
- 20g zahar
- 50g unt, rece, taiat cuburi
- 30g migdale felii
Mod de preparare:
- Amestecati faina, zaharul, sarea si migdalele pudra intr-un bol.
- Adaugati untul rece si amestecati cu varfurile degetelor pana obtineti o compozitie nisipoasa.
- Adaugati migalele felii si dati toppingul la rece pana e gata blatul.
- Praincalziti cuptorul la 170C si tapetati o forma de tort rotunda de 20cm cu hartie de copt.
- Cerneti faina cu praful de copt, bicarbonatul si sarea si dati deoparte.
- Mixati untul cu zaharul pana obtineti o compozitie cremoasa, pufoasa, apoi adaugati coaja de lamaie si vanilia. Incorporati ouale, unul cate unul, apoi adaugati faina si amestecati doar pana la incorporare.
- Adaugati laptele si mixati rapid.
- Combinati afinele cu 1 lingura de faina apoi incorporati-le in aluat cu o spatula, cu grija pentru a nu le strivi.
- Turnati blatul in tava pregatita so acoperiti cu un strat egal de topping.
- Coaceti pentru 40 minute sau, cel mai bine, pana trece testul scobitorii. Avand un cuptor pe gaz, ma incred mai mult in acest test decat temperatura.
- lasati sa se raceasca inainte de a felia.