Friday, 29 August 2008

Have your cake...and eat it

Well - we ate the chard. It had a bitter-ish sort of taste, and neither of us was that keen on the flavour. It looked very pretty on the plate though! Not quite sure what I shall do with the other half of the bundle. Maybe make this pesto sauce For pudding, I made the Dessert of the Month from Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

msl picture Here's the picture from the magazine. The blurb says...

The carefree days of summer are embodied in this relatively effortless, yet elegant, skillet dessert. Aromatic lavender permeates the lightly sweetened cornmeal cake, and plump peaches impart even more fragrance and flavour.


Mine looked like this >>

I am afraid I didn't slice the nectarines into slices - mine were round blob shapes!

It wasn't totally authentic - I realised I had no cream, so planned to substitute Greek Yogurt. Then I missed out the crucial line in the recipe where you 'mix in cream and vanilla' !It is meant to serve 8, so we had ¼ tonight and I have put half into the freezer. We spooned Greek Yogurt over it. It tasted very nice - the cornmeal gives a pleasant sort of sandy texture to the sponge.


  • 5½ oz butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 peaches/nectarines, skins on, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped lavender
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup double cream

Preheat oven to 180' Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, using a pastry brush to coat sides with butter as it melts. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar evenly over bottom of skillet, and cook gently about 3 minutes. Arrange peaches in a circle, on top of sugar. Reduce heat, cook until peaches begin to soften, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk dry ingredients. Beat remaining 4oz butter and 3/4 cup sugar with a hand mixer, until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Mix in vanilla and cream.Beat in cornmeal mixture.

Drop large spoonfuls of batter over peaches, and spread evenly. Bake until golden brown 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer skillet to a wire rack, stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife or around edge of cake. Quickly invert cake onto a plate. Tap bottom of skillet to release peaches, and carefully remove skillet. Reposition peach slices on top of cake. Let cool slightly before serving.

Not quite sure about "the carefree days of summer" - MS is very fond of flowery prose when describing her recipes. The lavender was an unexpectedly fragrant addition however. I shall try it again sometime with half quantities in my smaller skillet. If it works without the lavender, and using canned peaches and soft marg, it could be a useful, inexpensive store-cupboard standby.


  1. Give it another go. I think it does sound yummy! :)

  2. When chard's in season, we get loads of it in the veg box; I like it as part of a stir fry with sweet veg like carrots and red peppers to balance the bitterness. Or you can shred it finely and put it in an omlette or frittata with some garlic, parsley and bacon? Or just steam it and serve with a knob of butter, squeeze of lemon and a little nutmeg/black pepper? In Italy they use chard or rocket to make "pesto amaro" which translates to "bitter pesto"...


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