Farmers markets tell the tale of summer in the Northeastern US. First,
garlic scapes appear in May and announce that summer is near. If you
like to cook, you greet these green mild-tasting curlicue flowering
stalks of garlic bulbs with excitement as there is a whole summer ahead.
And during their short run,you might blend the scapes into pesto and
Then, after June and July’s corn and zucchini and
green beans and carrots, the lush rainbow of tomatoes and berries and
stone fruits greet market-goers.
Heavy with nectar and beckoning
with scent, these August treasures encourage over-buying and an urgent
joie de vivre. It’s hard not to eat a handful of blueberries on the way
home, unable to wait to wash them. At home, you lean over a sink to eat a
peach, its juices dripping down your chin. When these fruits appear at
the markets, timed with the back-to-school sales, they remind you to
fill every last moment of summer with sunshine and sand before apples,
crisp like the fall air they portend, return.
August draws to a close, the race to relax, the pressure to make every
moment last is keenly felt. US cities clear out as those Americans
fortunate enough to have half-day Friday “summer hours” slip away for
long weekends in rented homes on a shore or by a lake.
you can’t get away, you can still wring the most out of summer in your
own home. Gather up what market treasures are left after munching out of
hand and intensify the flavors with just a little bit of preparation or
heat. Let the ingredients shine in quick marinated salads - tomato
sliced with mozzarella and basil, berries macerated in sugar and mint
and drizzled over ice cream. When the day cools to evening and the
sweater covers your shoulders, break out a pan and turn on the oven.
Toss together a few ingredients and let the heat concentrate the flavors
of August. While the gratin or tart or cake or pie is baking, pour
yourself a glass of a crisp rosé and watch the fireflies light up the
sky and know that an explosion of summer decadence is coming your way.
tartetatin is a traditional French dessert of apples cooked in caramel
and covered with puff pastry, then baked and flipped upside-down onto a
plate before serving. This variation, made savory with small tomatoes
and pomegranate syrup, is perfect for lunch. Pomegranate syrup
(sometimes called pomegranate molasses) is very thick reduction of
pomegranate juice. It is puckeringly sour, should not contain sugar, and
is available in Middle Eastern grocery stores and online. You can also
make your own by boiling down pure pomegranate juice until it reduces to
half its original volume.
Allow the tarte to cool for 5-10 minutes before flipping it over because the sauce will be very hot. Eat lukewarm.
recipe has only approximate measurements because much will depend on
how large and how ripe your tomatoes are. It is scaled for a single
small tarte (a good lunch-sized portion). If servings as an appetizer or
part of a meal, double the recipe and use a 9-inch pan for 4-6
Serves 1 as lunch or 2 as side dish.
- 4 ozs puff pastry
(I use half of one of the pastries in a 17-oz Pepperidge Farm 2-pack)
- 1-2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup/molasses
- 1 teaspoon olive oil and extra for greasing
- pinch of sugar
- 2 – 3 teaspoons water
- 12 – 18 cherry or grape tomatoes
Defrost the puff pastry for 20-30 minutes on the counter, or overnight
in the refrigerator. (Or, make your own.) Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
Lightly grease a small pan (about5 inches across the bottom).
In the pan, mix together the tomato paste, pomegranate syrup, olive
oil. Add a large pinch of sugar, a large pinch of salt, and several good
grinds of pepper. Thin slightly with water until it’s the consistency
of maple syrup.
Arrange. Slice the tomatoes in half through the core
and toss them with the syrup in the pan. Arrange them, cut side up in a
Roll. Roll out the puff pastry dough between two pieces of wax paper into a circle about 1 inch larger than your pan.
Tuck. Transfer the pastry to cover the tomatoes. Tuck the edges around the tomatoes. Cut several short vents in the pastry.
Bake. Bake the tarte until the crust is puffed and golden, 25-30 minutes.
Let the tarte stand for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the pastry to
loosen it from the pan. Place a platter on top of the pan and carefully
flip the tarte over.
Sprinkle. Thinly slice a few mint leaves and sprinkle them on the tarte right before serving.
Plum cake with lime and rose
recipe was adapted from one on Not Derby Pie. It is quite possibly one
of the simplest cakes you can make – all you need is one bowl and a
little bit of elbow grease. The batter is thick, but is still pourable. A
few swipes of a spatula gets it right into the pan. The fruit juices
ooze all over and dribble beautiful color throughout the cake. The plums
used were on the tart side, which played nicely against the sweet cake.
Lime zest and rose water were added,but they can be replaced by equal
amounts of lemon zest and vanilla.
fall, this cake can be made with apples as well. Apples are not quite
as juicy, so it’s worthwhile to first cook them down with a bit of sugar
to help them release their juices.
Serves 8-10 and there will be no leftovers. This cake is great with ice cream, but it needs no accoutrement.
- 6-8 small plums or 4-6 large plums
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoonrose water (or vanilla)
- 1 lime for zest
- Optional: 2-3 tablespoons demerara sugar, also called sugar in the raw or turbinado sugar
oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan, springform or square
pan. (If you want to plate this, use a springform; otherwise, just
serve it out of the pan.) Cut the plums into wedges (6 wedges per small
plum, 8 wedges per large).
together the remaining ingredients (except for the demerara sugar). You
can mix this all by hand in less time than it takes to drag your stand
mixer out of the cabinet.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. The batter is thick, so you’ll
need a spatula to scoop it all out and then spread it evenly in the pan.
Arrange the plum slices however you want and sprinkle with demerara
Bake. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Gayle Squires publishes recipes and photographs on the blog, Kosher Camembert. Her cooking and baking is inspired by international travel .