Summer comes slowly to Tassie. We get a hint in mid spring, a day or two when the thermometer soars, and then plummets to punish us for having snuck in a few early tomatoes or peas. Sometimes summer creeps in, frustratingly snail-like in pace, waiting to really warm up.
This is fruit season: we gorge on the stuff. From the first mulberries, through gooseberries to raspberries. We celebrate the first cherries of the year with pip-spitting competitions on the deck, my son and I shirtless so we don’t stain our clothes. We buy trays of peaches and nectarines from the Cane family on the other side of the river; impossibly sweet, melting-flesh stone fruit – the sort that dribbles down your chin as you eat them, that peel at the mere touch of a hand. In a good year we harvest masses of apricots and realise the commercial varieties really aren’t the goods. Apricots are perfect for preserving, popped straight into jars and boiled, or halved and dried. They’re delightful under crumble or sliced fresh with cake. Or slipped into batter and turned into super quick and easy cobbler.
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
2t baking powder
pinch of salt
170 ml milk
about 450g apricots, or other fruit, halved, stones removed
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. In a 2 litre casserole dish (or similar) melt the butter in the oven while you make the batter.
With a wooden spoon, mix in the flour, half of the sugar, the baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk and beat just until you have an even batter. Pour this batter into the melted butter. DO NOT STIR. Lay the halved fruit on top and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top. Pop the dish into the centre of the over, turn the temperature down to 180 degrees and bake for 1 hour.
The edges should caramelise and the fruit should sink into the swelling batter. Serve hot with golden syrup ice-cream or a little drizzle of cream.
Adapted from Matthew Evans’ Summer on Fat Pig Farm, published by Murdoch Books 2015. Photograph by Alan Benson.