The fruits used in this sweet bread vary with the seasons and availability. Sour cherries and blueberries are the most popular; their tanginess provides a fine counterpoint to the sweetness. But any full-flavored stone fruit-plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines-or berry works well too. Quick and easy to prepare, bublanina makes an excellent teatime treat or light breakfast pastry.
- 1 pound (about 500 grams) ripe, fresh fruit (see above for suggestions)
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional to grease pan
- ½ cup sugar, preferably superfine
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract (see Cook's Note)
- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- confectioners' sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare fruit. If using stone fruits, pit them and cut them into quarters or sixths, if large. If skin is thick or bitter, you may want to peel the fruit. Stem berries, if using, and cut large strawberries in half. Set aside.
Generously grease a 9x9-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until it is soft and smooth. Gradually add in the sugar, beating until light-colored, smooth, and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time and the vanilla and almond extracts.
Stir together the flour and salt in a small bowl.
In another bowl, using clean beaters, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff but not dry.
Fold the flour alternately with the egg whites into the batter: fold in about 1/3 of the flour, then ½ of the beaten egg whites, followed by another 1/3 of the flour, the remaining egg whites, and the remaining flour.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange the fruit evenly over the top and push it down so that it is partially or lightly submerged by the batter. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.
Serve warm or room temperature, dusted, if desired, with confectioners' sugar.
Cook's Note: Stone fruits are close relatives of almonds and the two flavors complement each other beautifully. But if you prefer, as some do, the taste of citrus here, substitute ½ to 1 teaspoon of grated lemon or orange zest for the almond extract.
Yield: about 6 servings