We have truly been blessed with the best summer fruit we've tasted for years. The past few months of seemingly endless sunshine has ensured plenty of juicy flavour. Now, of course, we have said goodbye to daylight saving, the humidity has moved off and been replaced by crisp, fresh mornings and the days are noticeably shorter. As the fruits of summer start to disappear from the supermarket shelves or garden trees, they are replaced with the delights of autumn - apples, pears, feijoas and more. Indeed, mowing the lawn at the moment around the trees groaning with fruit is quite a challenge. But the fruit from the fallen feijoa tree is too hard, so we'll have to wait a week or two for the plump ones that are still hanging overhead, which is testing our patience. When they fall we will be there with our bags and teaspoons to collect and devour. I have to be quick to get them for cooking.
Growing up in a home where dessert was served seven nights a week, and always made from scratch, these seasonal fruits were served by my mother in every way possible - apple and feijoa crumble, poached pears, apple fritters - and we always went back for seconds.
Today, the smell of apple pie baking in the oven always brings back fond childhood memories.
On that note, instead of a traditional apple pie today we've made apple strudel. The dough is simple to make, then rolled out and filled with apples and cinnamon. I have also added date puree for a sumptuous flavour, and then folded some extra puree through the whipped cream to serve. Another great twist is to omit the cinnamon and crumble and add some blue cheese instead. I love Stilton, but use your favourite.
The dough in this recipe is very versatile: add a savoury filling and serve with a salad for lunch.
Rice pudding is an old favourite. We always bake it in the oven; long and slow where it forms a delicious skin (which usually causes a bit of friction at the table). Our mother served it with home-bottled summer peaches, which added to the treat. For a different approach, try this method of cooking on the stove. However, don't get distracted for too long or it will stick to the bottom. A little fresh ginger also works beautifully with feijoas.
Finally, it doesn't get any easier than a pear, prosciutto and pine nut salad. The sweetness of the fresh pear contrasts beautifully with the salt of the prosciutto and flavours of the blue cheese. Delicious.
For more of Angela Casley's fabulous recipes, visit foodhub.co.nz