Growing up, one of the best things about summer was getting to indulge in the bounty of nectarines from our tree. Unfortunately, that tree is long gone and the nectarines in the stores, just don't have any flavour or at least a flavour that matches those memories.
I keep buying nectarines in the hope of finding that elusive flavour and until I do, I end up having to find ways of putting those nectarines to work.
The dish I've made is an interpretation of a traditional cake from the Veneto - Torta Putana which translates as *ahem* Whore Cake. There are a couple of versions - one uses corn meal, the other uses stale bread and there's also a few stories about how it got its unusual name. The story I prefer is that it got its name because it is made with whatever you had hanging around so anything can go into it. I'm keeping with that ethos and ditching the more usual dried and glace fruits and using slices of fresh nectarine.
Yield: 1 cake
150 grams stale bread, cut into even pieces
2 cups milk
100 grams raw caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 teaspoons baking powder
50 grams melted butter
3 nectarines, halved and sliced evenly
pearl sugar, to topping
Put the bread into a bowl and pour over with milk - cover and place in the fridge to soak overnight.
The next day put the soaked bread into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until it forms a smoothing paste. Add the sugar, vanilla bean paste, baking powder and eggs and continue beating until amalgamated. On a low speed, beat while you drizzle in the melted butter. Finally tumble in the sliced nectarines and fold them through.
Pour this mix into a greased and lined loose-bottomed 22cm baking pan - smooth the surface and then scatter over with pearl sugar.
Bake in a preheated 170°C oven until golden and cooked through - about 60 minutes. If you feel it is browning too quickly, cover the pan with foil and lower the heat to 160°C.
Let it cool in the pan before un-moulding. This can be served warm or cold.