Who doesn't love stone fruit season in the Bay Area? Farmers bringing in sweet peaches, rich nectarines, pluots and plums and apriums and apricots, not to mention those CandyCot apricots at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (FPFM). It's hard not to just eat everything raw, but there are plenty of great ways to enjoy stone fruit.
Here are some ways I've used stone fruit in the last two months:
Firstly, where do you buy these gems?
I love fruit from Tory Farms. Last year I couldn't stop eating their pluots, and their current nectarines and peaches are incredible. Even when they aren't soft, the flavor is amazing. Tory is at the FPFM on Thursdays and Saturdays.
You can only get CandyCot apricots from CandyCot Fruit Company, which you can read about here. The farmer, John Driver, developed these varieties after bringing back hundreds of seed varieties from Central Asia and developing his own crosses. Enough said.
After CandyCots, Blenheim apricots from Everything Under the Sun Farm are my favorite. Blenheims are the one variety of apricot that ripens from the inside out, and even though they are a bit cosmetically challenged, they are tasty.
Bella Viva Orchards has these beautiful dusty green pluots with a deep red flesh. They are utterly surprising when cut open, and taste just as amazing. Bella Viva is at the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays and has other great stone fruit.
Twin Girls Farm also has a great array of stone fruit, especially their donut peaches. They're at the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
This isn't stone fruit, but Yerena Farms has a great variety of berries that is perfect on their own or in pies. Their strawberries are fantastic, as well as their raspberries and blackberries, but they also have interesting picks like ollalieberries and tayberries. They're at the market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Finally, what would any of these fruits be without some rhubarb? While Happy Quail Farms is known for its peppers (try their padrons!), they also sell some amazing rhubarb on Tuesdays and Saturdays at the market.
What to do?
My first foray into fruit baking was with a clafoutis recipe from Gluten Free Goddess. Clafoutis is a lovely breakfast cake made mostly with eggs and a small amount of flour - this recipe uses coconut and brown rice. It's sweet and savory and egg-y all at once: I've used this recipe upwards of 10 times over the past couple of months, and it's fantastic. I've used many different combos, including: peach and tayberry, strawberry and raspberry, cherry and aprium, and nectarine. You can find the recipe here. You can substitute honey for the maple syrup.
The easiest way to utilize all this great stone fruit is an easy crumble. Just use your favorite flour mix (brown rice, almond, and coconut, anyone?), and cut cold butter into it. If you're using rhubarb, mix some sugar into the fruit mixture before you lay the crumble on top. Bake at 400 degrees until the top is browned and the fruit is soft and sweet. Serve with Greek Yogurt.
And then there's pie. I have to admit, I still haven't tried to attempt a gluten free pie crust. You know what I discovered? There are some lovely pre-made gluten free pie crusts out there that make piemaking a snap. Try the crust from Zest Bakery in San Carlos, or if you're in a pinch, the Whole Foods brand gluten free pie crust tastes just like the "real thing".
All you do is cut up your fruit, and mix it with some sugar and about a tablespoon of brown rice flour. If you're using rhubarb, use a bit more sugar to sweeten. Pour the mixture into the pan and cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn down to 375, and cook until the liquid is bubbling, about an hour or a bit more. Take out, let cool, and then devour with some yogurt.
Finally, if you don't have the time, just cut up some fruit and mix with yogurt. Delicious.