Most of my everyday baking incorporates fruit in one way or another. It’s always been that way. When I was growing up there was always plenty of fruit on the trees in the garden – mainly British apples and pears but also Victoria plums later on in the year – to inspire traybakes and crumbles.
One of the first recipes I ever made at school during a home economics class was a pineapple upside-down cake – sticky and sweet, and studded with bright red (tinned!) cherries. For a fruity after-school treat these days, I’m more likely to mash up some over-ripe bananas to make banana bread for the kids. It’s our favourite fruity bake of all.
We still have a few months to go before we can dig in to some ripe summer berries. However, springtime in the UK is well known for its pink rhubarb. Rhubarb is very simple to stew or roast, and makes a great base for a simple baked crumble. There are plenty of British heritage apples to try, too, equally perfect for a classic crumble.
I look forward to baking with plums most of all, perhaps because of the memories of the tree in our garden as a child, which was laden with fruit year after year. I’ve found a lovely twist on the classic pineapple upside-down cake for you to bookmark – a plum upside-down cake with a sticky caramel sauce and a cheat’s coconut ice cream. For an extra-delicious indulgence, you could serve the fruity bake with a scoop of clotted cream.
A recipe I’ve yet to try making is a fruit cobbler, the American take on a fruity bake, with almost any fruit baked in a large dish and topped with scones or dumplings. This simple-to-bake peach cobbler is made with peaches (used tinned if you can’t find any in season just yet), brown sugar, vanilla, ginger and lime, all topped by a slightly nutty cobbler with the addition of pine nuts.
Another very simple fruity recipe to try is the French classic called a ‘clafoutis’ – which is traditionally made with cherries, but you can also use almost any fruit. The fruit is topped with a pancake-like batter, using ingredients you’ll be very likely to have to hand at home such as flour, sugar, eggs, milk and butter. You could add some milk chocolate chips to Jamie’s store-cupboard peach clafoutis, then simply dig in your spoon and enjoy!
What are your favourite ways of adding fruit to your puddings and cakes? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments box!