From Too Many Chefs -

August 11, 2005
Peach Blueberry Cake

peachbluecake.jpg(The August 2005 Gourmet Cover Recipe)

Barrett’s obsession with food and cooking means that our apartment is completely littered with at least one (and, yes, sometimes more than one) copy of most major food magazines each month. August was a great month for the food magazines. (I dog-eared the corners of no fewer than 20 pages in Bon Appetit). My favorite recipe this month comes from the cover of Gourmet.

According to the piece, the recipe is by Ruth Cousineau. She calls this a Peach Blueberry Cake, but it seems more like a tart or a pie to me. Interestingly, the recipe calls for tapioca which is something my family has never used in pies or cobblers, but it works really well. The fruit holds its form surprisingly well. The best part is the crust which is cookie-like, though a little more crumbly. I’m thinking about adding a little amaretto to the crust next time to see if it broadens its flavor. The magazine also calls for a food processor to make the pastry, but since we don’t have one, my recipe is somewhat modified.

Overall, I found the recipe to be very easy and fast, and it really impressed my running partner Paul and his friend John when they were here for dinner a couple weeks ago. I’ve made it twice now, and it is quickly becoming my summer fruit dessert.

Peach Blueberry Cake
The Pastry:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cup into ˝ inch cubes
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Filling:
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
2 pounds (approximately 4 large or 6 small) peaches, cut into ˝ inch pieces
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

To make the Pastry:
-Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) using a wisk.
-Add the butter to these dry ingredients using a pastry cutter until it the butter is mealy.
-Transfer the mixture to mixer, and using the dough hook, add the egg and vanilla and mix until the dough begins to form a ball.
-Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. (You only need to go approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inch up the sides). The dough should be approximately 1/4 inch thick. Chill the pastry while you prepare the filling.

To make the Filling:
-Using a coffee grinder or food processor, grind a couple tablespoons of sugar with the flour and tapioca until the tapioca pearls become powdery.
-Transfer the powdery mixture to a large bowl and combine with the remaining sugar.
-Add peaches, blueberries, and lemon juice, and gently stir to thoroughly coat fruit with the dry mixture.
-Transfer fruit mixture into the pastry and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit on middle rack for 1 3/4 hours until the middle is bubbling and the crust is golden. Be sure to loosely cover pan with sheet of foil during baking because (trust me) the pastry will burn otherwise.
-Cool the cake in pan, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Then you can carefully remove the sides of the pan and transfer the cake to a serving dish.
-It will continue to steam for another hour, so don’t cover it yet unless you want a soggy crust.
-If you want to serve it warm, continue to cool the cake for another 30 to 45 minutes so that the filling doesn’t run when you cut into it.
-It also tastes great served at room temperature.

Posted by The Redhead at August 11, 2005 7:03 PM | TrackBack

Very tasty, I can attest. I do object to the "Multiple copies" comment. I think that only happened once. OK, maybe twice.

Posted by barrett on August 11, 2005 at 11:06 PM

this looks like something I would try! must ask Meg, when she returns to Paris, if tapioca is easy to find here.

Posted by Alisa on August 12, 2005 at 5:15 AM

I have a cook-out to go to this weekend and was considering that cake--it's so great to read about someone else's experience with the recipe first! I'll make it now for sure. Thanks!

Posted by Brandon on August 12, 2005 at 8:03 AM

Alisa, I know I have seen them but can't remember the exact name - perles de...? Orient?? David or Clotilde may know. If not I'll check when I'm back!

Posted by Meg in Paris (but currently in Chicago) on August 12, 2005 at 1:11 PM

Another name for tapioca is manioc. It's a starch made from cassava roots and you could probably use other thickeners (like corn starch or arrowroot) if you can't find tapioca.

Posted by barrett on August 12, 2005 at 4:53 PM

I don't currently subscribe to Gourmet. After seeing your comments about this Peach Blueberry Cake, I ran out to buy this issue. I made the cake today and I will say it was a big hit all around! It is really simple and foolproof - and has a nice presentation. It looks like one has worked a lot harder than they actually did to achieve the end result.

Thanks for the recommendation. It's going to be a regular on my "hit parade".


Posted by Lu on August 14, 2005 at 8:21 PM

That is a really lovely dessert--I may have to try it, though peaches are hard to slip by Zak. Morganna and I, however, love them.

Posted by Barbara on August 15, 2005 at 9:26 AM

did you really bake it for 1-3/4 hours? i, too, inspired by the cover, made this, but just after an hour, i panicked and took it out. alas, the bottom and sides were very very dark brown. quel drag. however, i'm inspired to see your post and its lovely picture. i've got to give it another try!

Posted by sofasophia on August 18, 2005 at 1:19 PM


I was initally concerned about the 1 3/4 hours. I thought the cake would burn (or be dry), but it was perfect! I think the trick to not burning it is loosely covering the top with FOIL to deflect some of the heat. (My grandmother used to use foil on all of her pies).

I did forget to cover it one time which resulted in a partially burned crust (and a stinky kitchen) at 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hr.

Better luck next time.

Posted by Rebecca the Redhead on August 18, 2005 at 2:57 PM

I made this cake yesterday strictly according to directions, including the loose foil covering and it was a disaster! It seemed that 375F was far too hot and by 1 hr. the pastry smelled burnt and still had another 3/4 hr. to go! When finished, the pastry was burnt completely black and the filling was like a thick marmalade. We had to scoop out the filling and plop it on top of frozen yogurt inn order to salvage it as a dessert. I know our oven is not the problem since other things we baked this week were perfect.

Posted by David James on August 25, 2005 at 9:09 AM


I'm sorry to hear your cake turned out so horribly. The filling is supposed to thicken once it's cooled, and what a smart way to salvage it. I may have to try that on my next bowl of ice cream.

A couple thoughts: (1) We have a gas oven, and I'm a strong believer that things bake differently in gas and electric. I grew up with (and prefer) electric, but I have had a gas oven for the last 3 years. I suspect the electric oven might bake the cake faster and drier. (2) I once had an electric oven that had the lower unit go out. I could bake cookies and brownies just fine, but anytime i tried to bake muffins, cakes, pumpkin bread, etc I would completely burn the top and would the bottom would still be batter. How did yours burn?

I just made the cake again this last weekend when Meg, the Critic, and baby Kieran were visiting. I accidentally left the pizza stone in the oven (on a lower rack), and I mistakenly baked it at 400 degrees for the first 45 minutes (before rembering that it's supposed to be 375). I also learned not to overfill the pastry. (I still need to clean filling off the pizza stone). A few small mistakes by me, but it came out just fine again.

Posted by Rebecca on August 25, 2005 at 11:32 AM

It came out better than fine - it was delicious!! After a very filling and enjoyable night out, we couldn't resist trying it when we got home. And it was every bit as good as I expected!!

Posted by Meg in Paris on August 30, 2005 at 5:12 PM