AUGUST is a ripe and abundant month. Evening shadows are long and, with any luck, the days are hot and hazy.

My baking appetite leans towards a lighter, seasonal palate; fruit-laden tarts, tangy tray bakes and crisp meringues.

Berry season might be over but late summer in the UK yields the last of the cherries as well as an abundance of blackberries, plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines.

These orchard fruits have a soft, yielding quality; heavy with nectar and quick to spoil, yet blissful when ripe.

They should be eaten greedily in the shady corner of a fiercely hot day, their juices flecking summer linens and dribbling down chins.

When baking with stone fruits it is important not to overwhelm their delicate honey flavours, use light cake batters, simple vanilla and hints of almond.

I can think of no better baked vehicle for stone fruits than the custard wobble of Clafoutis, a rustic French dish with connotations of haze, swaying poplars and tall towers of summer cloud.

There are many variants for making Clafoutis but the essential requirements are fruit, eggs, a little flour, a little sugar, a creamy fat and a splash of milk.

The principles of this dish have a wide margin for error; some recipes call for cream, some for kirsch, some for cherries and some for plums, but I advise that you make it to your taste.

Choose a fruit that cooks well in a short time, something that retains its shape but is already soft to the bite before cooking.

The right dish and the right attention to detail can produce something dinner-party-beautiful; a golden disc bejewelled with glistening, sweet fruits, dusted with icing sugar and eaten outside on a warm evening to the tune of clattering cutlery and lazy laughter.

Sometimes I make it for breakfast by simply throwing the ingredients together to create a wonderful, fruity mess to heap with Greek yoghurt and eat straight from the pan.

The batter will rise and puff but sink back once removed from the heat.

Either way it is best eaten warm, still quivering, the fruits jammy, lush and scalding.