summer sweet

Summer is the most glorious time for fruit in this part of the country - friends backyards are brimming with fruit laden trees; plums of every kind, mulberries, apricots, peaches. I have already made one big batch of tomato and plum sauce to sell at the farmer's markets and am anticipating another batch later in the week. There is nothing so lovely as a properly ripe and juicy stone fruit, and perhaps nothing so disappointing as a floury/tasteless one! We have an excess of egg yolks most of time (because the whites are used in my bread making) and therefore much custard in made and turned into ice-cream. This apricot version was an experiment we loved and will absolutely do again. The plum slice was also a concoction - at the eleventh hour to take for afternoon tea - I think almonds and plums compliment each other perfectly and that faint tartness of plum skin with a sprinkle of sugar on top is beautiful... 

~ Honey + Apricot Ice cream ~

2 cups full-cream milk
1/4 cup cane sugar
5 free-range egg yolks
1 cup pure cream
1/4 cup honey
1 cup ripe apricots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Prepare the custard by heating milk in a saucepan on a low heat until just below boiling. Meanwhile whisk egg yolks and sugar in a jug or bowl. Pour in warm milk and whisk vigorously - then tip back into saucepan. Continue to heat and stir custard until set (when the back of a wooden spoon stays coated with mixture). Cool. Meanwhile in another small saucepan or fry pan, gently cook apricots with spices and honey until soft. Let cool. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Blend custard and apricots together (I prefer to see lumps of fruit so I only blend for a little while). Fold in cream. Pour into a ceramic or glass dish and freeze until set - about 4-5 hours - any longer and it will become too frozen solid, if it does let soften in the fridge for an hour before serving...

~ Plum + Almond Shortbread Slice ~ 

125g butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoons ground vanilla bean
2 cups plain flour (I used 1/2 rice 1/2 tapioca flours)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup full cream milk
fresh plums, halved, stones removed
raw sugar and flaked almonds for topping

Cream butter and sugar until pale. Using a beater or blender add almond meal, vanilla, flours, baking powder and milk until well combined. Pour into a 20cm square or round tin lined with baking paper. Press plums inside up all over the cake and sprinkle with raw sugar and flaked almonds. Bake in a moderate oven (180'c) for 20 minutes or until golden and coming away from the edges of the tin. Serve warm or cool with cream.