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Imagine, peaches and berries, roasted to perfection, filling cake layers

When we first tried this, the roasted fruit was not even cool before Peter and I were diving into it just for a "taste."   A week later he  managed to roast a batch and keep it long enough to use it as a cake filling.  Very, very good!    The roasted fruit is great as a topping for vanilla ice cream, if you do not have time to bake a cake, and would be wonderful as a topping for Sandtorte, a purchased Sara Lee pound cake, etc.  Only imagination limits the use.    

Adapted from a  recipe of Waldy Malouf, chef and part-owner of Beacon, a Manhattan restaurant, who came up with this concoction.  
Peaches and Blueberries with Vanilla Cake


6 large ripe peaches, pitted and sliced and
        6 cups blueberries     (Please see comments below from Poppy about quantities of fruit)*
1 cups sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
vanilla bean
8 tablespoons (one stick) butter in small pieces
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon salt
cup milk
Whipped clabbered* or heavy cream, for garnish
Mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 500 F.
2. In a bowl, place peaches, blueberries, 1 cup of the sugar and the lemon juice; toss to coat well.  *Malouf directs that you pour all but 2 cups of the combined fruit into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.   Cover reserved fruit and refrigerate. Poppy has developed a different approach more suited to a household kitchen,   roasting the fruit one day, then baking a cake and serving the dessert a day or more later.    Poppy recommends slicing 5 cups peaches, mixing sliced peaches with 5 cups blueberries, and 1 cup sugar and juice of 1 lemon.   Roast as directed, following step three below, burying vanilla pod and dotting with butter.   But do not cut extra fruit -- about one cup of sliced peaches and one cup blueberries until the day you plan to serve the dessert.
3. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, and reserve.  Bury the vanilla pod in the fruit in the baking dish, and arrange 4 tablespoons of the butter pieces on top.   Bake for 30 minutes, stirring after about 15 minutes.  Let cool on a rack; discard vanilla pod.
( Poppy's comments also appear in the home cookin'  mailbag.)
4.  Lower oven temperature to
350 F.  Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream remaining sugar and butter until very smooth.   Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  On low speed, add flour mixture to the batter in three stages, alternating with the milk.  Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 25 minutes, until a tester inserted into middle comes out clean.  5.  Let cool, then unmold cake.  With a long serrated knife, carefully slice cake horizontally into three layers.  Line a clean 9-inch cake pan with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of wrap overhanging.  Place bottom layer of cake in pan, cut side up.   Using a slotted spoon, layer half of the cooled fruit over cake.  Top with middle layer of cake, and spoon on remaining fruit; reserve fruit juices.  Cover with the top cake layer, cut side down.  Press down gently on cake, and cover with the overhanging plastic wrap.  Chill cake for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. (Cake is at its best after 8 to 24 hours, though it can be kept up to two days.   After that it will be far too mushy.)
6.  When ready to serve, unmold cake and garnish each slice with a generous drizzle of the reserved fruit (pan) juices, the reserved raw fruit and a dollop of whipped cream.   Top with mint sprigs, if desired.
*clabbered = curdled

Malouf's description of the fruit:  ". . . a mixture of sliced peaches and blueberries, which [ripen] at the same time and don't need a lot of added sugar.  . . . cooked together, their color is a purply blue with just a sunset smattering of red, orange and gold."  Chilling the cake after filling allows the cake to absorb "the delicious roasting pan juices, bonding with the fruit.

Malouf's garnish:  " . . .a few slices of raw peach and a sprinkling of blueberries.  Dressed in a light lemony glaze . . . Add a drizzle of the pan juices, a generous dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint."  As he writes "what's not to like?"

A comment from Poppy after I posted this recipe         
re blueberries & peaches:

6 large peaches is rather vague. What I have done is to measure the sliced peaches. I have prepared the cooked fruit separately from the "leftover" fruit.  I use 5 cups of blueberries and 5 cups of sliced peaches.

You are supposed to remove the vanilla bean after the fruit is cooked. This is quite difficult because the sauce is so dark. The bean is tough but will not hurt anyone. One way to keep track of the vanilla bean is to impale each piece on a toothpick. Then you can find them quickly after the cooking is done.

After cooking I transferred the roasted fruit to canning jars and stored it in the refrigerator. It keeps well for several days, during which time the cake can be cooked or not.
[On the day you plan to serve with a cake, slice one cup peaches and mix with one cup of blueberries and gently stir together with one-quarter cup sugar.  Leave in refrigerator a while before serving.]


Editor's note:  We have developed a complementarity with this dessert at this point.  Sue makes the cake and Peter prepares the fruit.  It's best if the cake and fruit are done at least eight hours in advance of serving but not too much more.   The roasted fruit keeps well in the refrigerator for a week but it loses its texture and fruits are less distinct after a few days in storage.   If you have a question for Peter about this recipe, email him by double clicking here.

This recipe has been kitchen tested.

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