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GOOD COOKING

From the Summer Fruit Bowl

July 28, 1994|ABBY MANDEL

Perfectly sun-ripened fruit is one of the great pleasures of summer. The following baked desserts count on the seasonal freshness of fruit to make them special.

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This is one of those old-fashioned bundt cakes where one slice is never enough.

LEMONY BLUEBERRY BUNDT CAKE

3 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

Zest 2 large lemons

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 cups blueberries

Tart Lemon Glaze

Sift 3 1/4 cups flour with baking soda and salt onto sheet of wax paper. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add eggs and lemon extract. Beat until thick and smooth, 3 minutes. Add sifted flour and buttermilk. Mix well to combine.

Toss blueberries with 3 tablespoons flour to coat. Stir into batter with wooden spoon. Batter will be very thick. Transfer batter to greased and floured 12-cup bundt cake pan. Bang pan on counter to settle batter. Smooth surface with spatula. Bake at 350 degrees until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and let cool on rack 10 minutes. Gently invert cake onto rack. Set rack on baking sheet. Brush warm cake with glaze, reapplying glaze as it drips onto baking sheet.

Let cake cool completely. Can be made day ahead. Store at room temperature, covered airtight. Makes 16 servings.

Each serving contains about:

266 calories; 210 mg sodium; 63 mg cholesterol; 10 grams fat; 44 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.31 gram fiber.

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Tart Lemon Glaze

Zest 1 lemon

1 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup butter, melted

Dash salt

Combine lemon zest and sugar in blender or food processor and process until zest is finely minced. Add lemon juice, butter and salt. Blend until smooth. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use. Makes 1/2 cup.

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Here, peach slices are sandwiched between a chewy, crunchy base and a crumb topping. Lightly brushing the egg white on the crumb topping gives the squares a crisp finish. The squares are best served the day they are baked, but they can be made a day in advance. Refrigerate overnight on baking sheet, arranged in a single layer, covered with foil.

CHEWY CARAMEL-PEACH SQUARES WITH PECANS

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

Salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 firm, ripe large peaches, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced, to equal about 2 1/2 cups

White of 1 large egg

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Use mixer to cream sugar, butter and generous dash salt. Add 1 cup flour and mix until just combined. Reserve about 1/2 cup mixture for topping. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Spoon remaining mixture into greased 9-inch square baking pan, distributing as evenly as possible. Press dough into thin, even layer using piece of plastic wrap or wrapping hand in small plastic food bag. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool about 15 minutes.

Combine 2 tablespoons flour, sugar, dash salt and cinnamon in 1-quart bowl. Toss peach slices with flour mixture. Closely overlap peach slices over slightly cooled crust. Use all peach slices. They will cook down. Crumble reserved topping evenly over peaches. In bowl beat egg white with fork until frothy. Dab crumbs and surface with egg white. Scatter pecans over top.

Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 50 minutes. Cool completely on rack, then refrigerate until chilled. Cut chilled pastry into quarters, transfer quarters to cutting board and cut each into 4 squares. Serve chilled. Makes 16 (2 1/4-inch) squares.

Each serving contains about:

120 calories; 36 mg sodium; 8 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.23 gram fiber.

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The extra step of cooking the fruit before assembling is essential; I have tested this recipe without doing this and the juices were much too thin. The cobbler can be baked a day ahead, cooled and refrigerated uncovered. To serve a refrigerated cobbler, place in a cold oven, set to 350 degrees and bake, uncovered, until warm (not hot), about 12 to 15 minutes.

OLD-FASHIONED RUBY FRUIT COBBLER

6 large firm plums, pitted, cut into 1/2 inch slices, to equal about 5 cups

1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved

1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pint raspberries

Biscuit Dough

Vanilla ice cream

Combine plums and strawberries in 12-inch skillet. Add tapioca, sugar and cinnamon. Gently toss until well mixed. Cook just until fruits simmer, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to shallow 8-cup baking dish. Scatter raspberries over top.

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