Reprinted with permission from Chez Panisse Fruit by Alice Waters, Alan Tangren, and Fritz Streiff, to be published May 2002 by HarperCollins.

This versatile stuffing can also be used for peaches, apricots, pluots, apples, and pears.

  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange liqueur
  • 3/4 cup chopped pistachios (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup sponge cake crumbs (recipe follows)
  • 6 medium-size nectarines
  • 1/4 cup dessert wine (muscat or Sauternes)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

To make the filling, cream the butter with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Add the egg yolk and the salt and beat until fluffy. Beat in the orange liqueur, the chopped nuts and sponge cake crumbs. Butter a 2-quart baking dish; cut nectarines in half and remove the pits. Arrange the nectarines in the dish, cut side up. Fill the cavity of each nectarine with stuffing. Drizzle the wine over and around the nectarines, sprinkle the nectarines with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and bake until the fruit is tender, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with creme anglaise.

Sponge Cake:
Makes one 9-inch round or one 12- by 18-inch rectangular cake.

  • 5 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Butter and flour a 9-inch round pan, 3 inches deep (such as a springform pan), or a 12- by 18-inch sheet pan; line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the egg yolks for about 5 minutes. Beat in the water, vanilla, and almond extract. Add the sugar and beat about 5 minutes more. The mixture will form a faint ribbon when the whisk is lifted.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they form soft peaks.

Gradually and gently fold the sifted dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture. When the flour is incorporated, fold in the beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in a round cake pan or 15 to 20 minutes in a rectangular sheet pan, until the cake is lightly browned and springy to the touch. Let cool on a rack. The cake can be made in advance and kept at room temperature or wrapped well and frozen.