I know summer doesn’t officially end until Sept. 23, but in most people’s minds, the last day of summer is the Tuesday after Labor Day. But I’m holding on. At least until all the local fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, sunny, dry days, and beautiful, cool nights, fade.
There’s still plenty of good end-of-the-season fruit available at farmers markets and grocery stores. Many farms still offer pick-your-own late blueberry, raspberry and blackberries. And, although it was a terrible year for stone fruit throughout much of the country (due to early leaves blossoming and then a hard frost in early spring, which killed off much of the harvest) there is still gorgeous peach, nectarines, plums, apricots and figs coming from the West Coast.
This is the time of year to bake pies and galettes. But here, I offer three new recipes. The first is ideal for breakfast, snacks, or tea time: blueberry-lemon scones. They can be put together quickly and are bursting with fresh berries and fresh lemon zest. A plum clafouti works well for breakfast or dessert. It’s a French baked custard with juicy slices of ripe plums lining the bottom of the pan.
And finally, a way to preserve summer fruit to enjoy all winter long: a blueberry-ginger jam. It’s quick and easy to make, and you can use any type of local fruit as a substitute for the berries. Jam making, as you’re about to learn, is way simpler than you thought.
Blueberry and lemon scones
You can use any variety of berries you can find or mix them up, but do add the lemon zest as it adds a great depth of flavor and brightness. Serve for breakfast, tea time or dessert. You can make the scones a day ahead of time or freeze the dough unbaked, or baked scones, for several weeks.
Makes 8 large scones.
- ½ cup sugar, plus ¼ cup sugar for sprinkling the tops
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 ¾ cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 ½ cups Greek-style yogurt or regular yogurt, drained through a fine strainer for 30 minutes to thicken
- 2 cups blueberries or your favorite berries
For the glaze:
- 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon heavy cream or milk, optional
- Make the scones: Mix the ½ cup sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and toss with your fingers to scent the sugar; set aside.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking or cookie sheet.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, lemon sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the butter cubes and, using your hands or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the yogurt and mix thoroughly. Gently fold in the berries using a soft spatula. (The dough will be wet; it’s fine.)
- Working on a well-floured surface, spread the dough out into a 6 or 7-inch square. Fold the dough in half, pat it down and then fold in half again. Using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough out until it’s about 2 inches thick, dusting with more flour if need be. Using a small sharp knife or a pastry cutter, cut the dough into four squares and then cut each square in half to create two triangles per square. You will have 8 triangles.
- Place the 8 scones on the prepared cookie or baking sheet leaving some room between each scone. Refrigerate for about an hour, or until firm and well chilled. You can also place the scones in a covered container and freeze for up to 2 weeks.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a small bowl whisk together the egg and cream. Remove the scones from the refrigerator and brush with the egg glaze. Sprinkle the scones evenly with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar.
- Place the chilled scones on the middle shelf and bake for about 30 minutes (closer to 40 to 45 minutes if frozen), or until golden brown and somewhat firm when you touch the tops. Serve warm or at room temperature.
A clafouti is essentially baked crepe batter made with seasonal fruit. Think of a baked custardy pancake and a souffle having a baby. Traditionally, a clafouti is made with cherries and often flambeed with cognac or brandy. Fear not, this is a simplified end-of-summer version that uses juicy plums, but you can also substitute peaches, nectarines, apricots, figs, or your favorite berry.
The clafouti is best served warm, straight from the oven, but it will last overnight and is also delicious served at room temperature. Serve for breakfast or dessert.
- About 1 tablespoon softened butter for greasing the dish
- 1 pound plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, etc., pitted and fairly thinly sliced*
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup all-purpose flour or cake flour (65 grams)
- ½ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top
- 1 cup milk and ½ cup heavy cream, or 1 ½ cups half-and-half
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract, optional
- About ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling on top
- *You don’t want to slice the fruit too thin or it will lose its shape. Aim for between ¼ to ½ inch thick slices. Keep berries whole, if using.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Rub the softened butter in a 4 to 6-cup gratin dish. Place the fruit slices onto the bottom of the dish.
- In a large bowl whisk or blend together the eggs, flour, ½ cup sugar, milk, cream (or half-and-half), vanilla extract and almond extract, if using. Whisk or blend until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter on top of the fruit and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 25 to 30 minutes, or until the clafouti is set, slightly puffed and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. If making ahead of time, cool thoroughly, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Just before serving, place the confectioners’ sugar in a small sieve and sprinkle on top of the clafouti. Serve warm.
I know what you’re thinking. Make homemade jam? I barely have time to make dinner! But what if I told you all you had to do was mix some fresh fruit with sugar and lemon juice and lemon zest and chopped ginger and let it simmer for around 30 minutes? Sounding better?
There’s no added pectin in this jam; the lemon juice acts as a natural thickener. And the grated lemon zest and fresh chopped ginger really makes the berry flavor pop. I often add a peeled, chopped peach, nectarine, or other end-of-the-season fruit to the jam. Mix and match. This makes a small batch of jam, a little over 2 cups. Feel free to double or triple the recipe to make a bigger batch.
- 4 cups berries, or 4 cups peeled chopped peaches, nectarines, etc.
- ¾ to 1 cup sugar, depending on how ripe and sweet your fruit is and how sweet you like your jam
- 1 large or 2 medium peaches, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces *
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
- Juice from the lemon you grated, about 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger**
*To peel the peaches: If the fruit is very ripe you’ll be able to use your hands and, working over a bowl, pull the skin off. Be sure to save all the juices. If the fruit is not particularly ripe, drop it into a pot of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes and then immediately place in a bowl of ice-cold water. The peel should easily come off.
**To peel ginger, use a kitchen spoon and simply scrape the outer brown peel off the ginger.
- In a medium heavy saucepan, mix the berries, sugar and peach, if using, and stir to distribute the sugar through all the fruit. Let “marinate” in the sugar for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. If sitting overnight, cover and refrigerate.
- Place a small plate in the freezer for at least 30 minutes while you cook the jam.
- Place the fruit and sugar over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and ginger. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes more. The jam should thicken and cook down.
- To test to see if the jam is ready: remove the plate from the freezer and add a teaspoon or so of the hot jam. Place back in the freezer for about 2 minutes. Remove from the freezer and run your finger through the jam; the jam is ready when it holds its shape and does not separate or run back together. Place the plate back in the freezer if the jam is not ready. Cook for another 5 or 10 minutes if needed and test the jam again.
- Place the jam in clean jars and refrigerate. The jam will last for several weeks. You can also preserve the jam in a hot water bath. Find more on canning tips here.
More late Fruit Recipes:
This segment aired on September 7, 2023.