September 24, 2012
I know, I know. I’m late with these. I always do this: when it’s the end of the season for something, I must scramble to eat and cook as many of them as possible. So, as nectarines are waving goodbye, I must seize their waving hands and pull them back in the house for one more pastry.
That was a weird metaphor.
Don’t you love it when things accidentally turn out pretty? I didn’t mean for these to end up looking like antique roses. I just left the skins on the nectarines because I was feeling lazy, and I sliced them thinly because this phyllo crust bakes quickly and I wanted the fruit to cook equally quickly. Then I arranged the slices in circles because it was the first arrangement I thought of, and dang if they didn’t come out gorgeous. Thank you kitchen gods for serendipitous loveliness.
September 10, 2012
Sometimes, I get infatuated with the idea of dessert recipes that are, shall we say, involved. I suppose I like the challenge. When my first-ever batch of macarons failed spectacularly, with gooey insides that stuck to the parchment paper and cracked, wrinkled tops, I ended up spending months making several batches of macarons every week until I got them perfect every time. I spent a sweaty summer day making puff pastry dough from scratch. I once made a towering croquembouche for no other occasion than that I was bored on a Saturday.
I kind of thought that lemon meringue tarts would be like that. I wanted to attempt these because the tartes au citron meringuée at the bakeries around our place are never as lemony or tart as I want them to be. My palate requires a strong acidic component to compete with that tall cloud of marshmallow-like meringue.
August 31, 2012
This recipe came to me in a dream. I am not even kidding you.
I’ve had a problem with having a consistent sleep schedule since I was a little kid. I remember staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning reading under my blanket with only a little night-light (possibly contributing to my horrendous eyesight as well as my degree in literature). With the Paris summer, during which the sun didn’t set until 10pm sometimes, and the fact that neither the gentleman nor I have to be in an office at 9am daily, I think it’s understandable that sometimes we don’t go to bed until the wee hours.
It’s worse when the gentleman is away. He at least feels a little guilt about being vaguely nocturnal; I don’t. Which is why I have sometimes found myself, in the last week, napping at strange hours, with the sun fully in my face.
July 12, 2012
The arithmetic of baking:
Butter + flour + water + (time x work) = puff pastry.
Puff pastry + heat = delicious flaky layers.