Monday, July 29, 2013

Velvet + Rosemary

My hope is that when you read the title of this post,  the first thought you had wasn't a portrait of Rosemary Clooney on black velvet.   Because that would be a little odd.   But I don't think your first thought would have been coffee cake either.  

Nature's marketing worked its magic on me once again when I was grocery shopping.  I came home with Black Velvet apricots, which are as pretty as they sound.   A hybrid of an apricot and a plum,  they are similar to pluots, but with the fuzzy skin of an apricot and the deep burgundy skin of a plum.  

Another cookbook found its way into my hands a day or so after that shopping trip (shocking!).  The book is called 'Fruit Desserts!' by Dorothy Parker (not that Dorothy Parker) and is filled with pretty straightforward, unfussy, recipes.  The recipe for the Blueberry Coffeecake looked like a winner and an easy pick since I've been wanting to make coffeecake for a while.  

I know rosemary may seem like an odd choice to pair with fruit.  Rosemary is a very polarizing herb, I find.  There are definitely the 'love it' or 'hate it' camps.  I'm in the 'love it' camp.  Remember that scene in 'Gladiator' with Russell Crowe walking through a field of high grass, his hand moving through the grass, fingertips grazing the tips?  That's how I am, albeit on a much smaller scale, when I walk past the pot of rosemary I grow on my patio.  A soft brush against those long, narrow leaves and a deep inhalation of that heavenly scent and my day instantly perks up.

While rosemary is usually found in savoury dishes, I think it lends a subtle, bracing note with fruit, especially stone fruit.  Fresh rosemary also lends a green note that you don't see in the dried variety.  Restraint, though, is necessary.  A hint of rosemary is what I wanted.  As much as I love the scent and taste, I didn't want to be smacked in the face with it, especially with the delicate taste of the apricot.  As an added bonus, I also let the fruit soak in a couple tablespoons of rosemary honey.  But any honey you have will work.

Can I say the cake was a hit if I took it into work (minus a piece...maybe two) and came home with an empty cake pan?

Black Velvet Apricot and Rosemary Coffeecake
Makes one 8x8 inch cake

6-8 Black Velvet (or regular) apricots, chopped
2 tbsp rosemary honey (or whatever  honey you have)

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 cups plus 1 tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 oz milk
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, very finely minced

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp five spice powder
1/4 cup butter, softened

Mix the chopped apricots with honey and set aside for at least an hour.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 inch cake pan with parchment and butter lightly.  

In a small bowl, sift the flour and baking powder.  Set aside.  Cream the sugar and butter.  Add the egg.  Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the juice from the apricots and the milk.  Add the rosemary and mix well.  Toss the additional tablespoon of flour with the apricots and add to the batter, folding the fruit in gently.  

Spread batter evenly into pan, getting into the corners.   For the crumb topping, mix all the ingredients to form coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle on top of batter.  Bake for 45 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean.

You can leave the cake in the pan.  Otherwise, let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

For all you Google Reader users out there...I'm sure you know by now that Google did away with Reader.  I've added the blog to Bloglovin' and switched my reading list there too.  I'm pleased with it and if you use them too, please consider adding me to your reading list!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

And if you're still thinking about Rosemary Clooney...

1 comment:

  1. Congratulation on making Foodie Blogroll's Featured Food Blogs of the Week! Nice to make your acquaintance!