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Nectarine Duff

Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough brier,

Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,

I do wander everywhere,

Swifter than the moon’s sphere;

And I serve the fairy queen,

To dew her orbs upon the green.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II, Scene 1

Nectarine Duff

I shall serve the fairy queen this nectarine fancy on saucers of cowslip’s ear. Just for you, Titania, have I nicked a nectarine from every tree in the orchard to find the fairest of fruits. Just for you, I choreographed the juicy crescents in concentric whorls, as sprites dance in a ring. Just for you, the first slice, edges buttery crisp, the fruit melting languid as maidens in June, nectarine leaving unguent hollows dewed with her nectar.

You have tasted this tart once before, in the midsummer twilight with a young bard. You kissed his eyelids with nectarined lips and murmured tales of princes and imps, of hedgehogs and owls, of a lanthorn and the horned moon. And when he awoke he thought he had but slumbered and all his visions but a dream.

Nectarine Duff

 

Midsummer Nectarine Duff for Titania

Pantry

  • ¼ cup vegan butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup nondairy milk
  • 4-6 nectarines or peaches (1 ½ lbs), sliced in eighths (Choose the most luscious fruits you can find. I really did taste every peach and nectarine at the farmers’ market.)

Method

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Melt the butter in a 9” round pan. Whisk or sift the dry ingredients together. Gradually add the milk just until dough comes together (you may not need it all). Stir just until streaks disappear. Spoon the batter evenly over the melted butter. Arrange the fruit in fairy rings atop the batter. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until edges are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or nearly so. Serve warm under the midsummer stars.

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