Food & dining

seasonal recipe

Recipe for Suzanne’s nectarine cake

Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

Makes one 9-inch square

If you inherit a recipe box, you often discover small treasures. This, from my late mother’s old box, raises unanswerable questions. Who was Suzanne? When did Mom make this cake? Also intriguing is that it is more like a German version of kuchen — a pie-like pastry topped with fruit and custard — than a traditional cake. Whether or not Suzanne was a passing acquaintance who shared a recipe we will never know. But no matter. This easy cake, bursting with fruit, turns out to be a worthy addition to any summer dessert repertoire.

2cups flour
½teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon baking powder
7tablespoons sugar
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
4nectarines, halved, pitted, and cut into wedges
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
2egg yolks
1cup heavy cream
½teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a 9-inch square baking pan.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Stir well. Add the butter and, with your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs.


3. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Pat it firmly against the bottom and sides of the pan. Arrange the nectarine slices on top.

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4. Wipe out the bowl and mix together the remaining 5 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle it over the nectarines.

5. Bake the cake for 20 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, in the bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cream, and vanilla. Remove the pan from the oven. Pour the cream mixture over the nectarines. Bake for 20 minutes more, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean. Total baking time is 40 minutes.

7. Set on a rack to cool. Serve warm, cut into rectangles. Sally Pasley Vargas