With a whole lot of apricots, peaches and nectarines all ripening at the same time on our counter, this cake was ideal to use up some less than perfect fruit. Even better, this dessert tasted better after a few days.
I’ve definitely made this recipe before, which is from Regan Daley’s In The Sweet Kitchen. I know this because I’ve made a small note in the poaching instructions to use a 3-quart pan, instead of a 2-quart one. The apricots I had on hand didn’t come out to two pounds, so I supplemented with some small nectarines and peaches.
Daley doesn’t give a guideline on how long the fruit needs to poach for, so use common sense and remove the smallest, thin-skinned fruit first, as they get soft fastest. The poaching liquid, a mix that includes honey, cinnamon and vanilla, is a potent syrup worth saving, as it makes a sweet addition to iced, carbonated water.
The dough for the base and topping is pretty crumbly, and its texture after baking will depend a lot on the grind of your cornmeal. If you like crunch, use a coarser grind (I used medium). My 10” springform pan is missing its bottom, so I just placed the band on a sheet pan lined with parchment, and carefully patted in the dough.
Eaten within the first 12 hours, I found the cake to be a little dry and crumbly. But over the next few days, the moisture from the fruit softened both the bottom crust and crumble topping, and made it even more delicious. All my tasters remarked it wasn’t very sweet, so serve it with a generous drizzle of the reduced poaching syrup.