Fresh figs are thought to have been used as early as 2000 B.C.
One of the first fruits to be dried and stored, figs appear regularly in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, and they’re revered in many world religions as a symbol of peace, fertility and prosperity.
Most figs grown in the U.S. come from California and are available from mid-May to November. One of the most popular variety is the Brown Turkey, pear-shaped with purple to brown skin.
Similar to the Black Mission but lighter in color, it’s distinguished by the green shades around its neck. It has a light pink interior with robust flavor and is perfect for this delicious dish.
Serve it for dessert topped with whipped cream or for breakfast with honey yogurt and crunchy granola.
If it’s October, it’s time to add apples to the menu. This recipe for an apple tea loaf is reminiscent of a traditional Irish apple cake.
The brandy adds a little kick and the nuts a bit of crunch.
I like to bake it in a stoneware tea loaf pan (12 x 4 x 2 1/2-inches) that creates smaller slices than a traditional full-sized loaf.
The tea loaf pan (I bought mine at kingarthurflour.com) holds the same amount as a 9 x 5-inch pan, so you can also use it to bake other quick breads or yeast breads.
Baking times will vary if you bake it in the smaller pan.
You’ll find other recipes like this in my cookbook Teatime in Ireland; signed copies available at irishcook.com
Fresh or dried, figs are it!
While not native to Ireland, they’re no longer considered “exotic” and are widely available to use in dishes ranging from teatime sandwiches to appetizers and desserts.
Christmas bakers have probably already started to stockpile dried ones for holidays sweets, but in between try some fresh ones in these yummy recipes.
Some varieties to look for are the dark purple Black Mission, most heavily cultivated today; the green-but-ripe Kadato; the Brown Turkey, similar to Mission but lighter in color; and Calimyrna, often found as dried figs.
You’ll find similar recipes in my cookbook Teatime in Ireland (Buy One, Get One Free) with signed copies available at www.irishcook.com.
FIG AND GOAT CHEESE TOASTS
MAKES 24 TOASTS
Fruit and cheese are a stunning combination in these little toasts made with raisin bread. Serve them at teatime or on a cheeseboard with drinks.
As August comes to a close, the fruits of summer show no signs of slowing down—lots of peaches, blackberries, plums, and nectarines available for snacking and baking.
This tart recipe starts with a shortbread-like crust and is then filled with peaches and blackberries (you can substitute blueberries if you like).
The crumble top adds a third delicious dimension.
You’ll find other sweets recipes in my cookbook Teatime in Ireland (Buy One, Get One Free) with signed copies available at www.irishcook.com.
PEACH-BLACKBERRY TART WITH CRUMBLE TOPPING
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup flour
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts or almonds
- 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch sea salt
A fruit “fool”—the word supposedly derives from the French fouler, meaning “to crush”—calls for combining puréed fruit with beaten eggs and sugar, whipped cream, sour cream, or yogurt for a virtually “foolproof” dessert.
This recipe, which pays homage to the fraughan (also known as bilberry and wild blueberry), combines the berries with layers of whipped cream and crushed biscuits.
You’ll find similar recipes in my new cookbook Teatime in Ireland with suggestions to serve the fool in small 2 to 3-ounce glasses for the “sweets course.”
To order signed copies (Buy One Get One Free during the SUMMER SPECIAL), visit irishcook.com.
What could be sweeter (and easier) than a big bowl or fresh berries for a summer dessert? A trifle, perhaps? A cobbler? A summer pudding?
A bit more effort, I agree, but the rewards are greater too.
You’ll find other sweet summer recipes in my new cookbook Teatime in Ireland. Order a signed copy at www.irishcook.com and get one FREE with my “Christmas in July” special offer.
Some attribute this deliciously simple dessert to the English, but it’s equally popular in Ireland. As its name indicates, summer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are the main ingredients. But don’t be fooled by the word “pudding” in its name, since the dessert is actually made with white bread or brioche!
After the fruit and bread have mingled overnight, the result is a colorful and unusual dessert that almost looks too pretty to eat.
I’ve been a fan since 1999 when the recipe first appeared in my Irish Heritage Cookbook.
Long before gluten-free was a food phenomenon, a friend gave me this recipe for an unusual, flourless—thus gluten-free—cornmeal cake that became my go-to summer dessert.
The original recipe suggested a fruity wine syrup topping, but I also love it as an upside-down cake with the fruit on the bottom.
Serve it for dessert or at teatime with whipped cream, a dollop of tangy crème fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
You’ll find more teatime recipes in my new cookbook Teatime in Ireland.
To order a signed copy—buy one get one free with a CHRISTMAS IN JULY special offer—visit irishcook.com.
It’s strawberry season in Ireland, especially in County Wicklow, where the luscious berries are grown in great number at places like Green’s Berry Farm in Gorey.
Delicious in shortcakes, jams, and quick beads, of course, but for a change of pace toss them in a salad with cheese and nuts and top it with honey-mustard vinaigrette, creamy poppy seed or blue cheese dressing.
Buy your favorite salad greens loose or in convenient 10-ounce bags; add baby spinach and arugula, if you like.
STRAWBERRY-BLUEBERRY SALAD WITH HONEY-MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
For the salad
- Mixed lettuce, spinach, arugula
- 1 cup whole strawberries
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 red onion, sliced (optional)
- Crumbled blue cheese (optional)
For the vinaigrette
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Make salad. Combine mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, pine nuts, onion (if using), and blue cheese (if using) in a large bowl.
- Make vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, honey, vanilla and almond extracts, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil until blended; whisk in vinegar.
- Pour dressing over salad; toss gently. Arrange on salad places, sprinkle with pepper, and serve.