“You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time.
People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time.
Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.”
they were delicious
and so cold
—William Carlos Williams, This Is Just to Say
I have no
writing a blog post
at this point in time
I do not want
to talk about the weather
or my workload
or how fast 2018 has gone
(Where has 2018 gone?)
I have ideas
but writing is tiring
my brain is
so heavy and slow
in the summer
off of my life
like rivulets of condensation
on my AirCon
My mind is full
and other boring horrors
not much room for
Too many photos
and too few words to
fill the great white gaps
Sloth overtakes the writer
sloppy, chopped up text
the slowest death of all
Here, look at the color
of these plums
Sweet, juicy, fuchsia plums
fill this pie
nestled into fragrant, buttery
in shatteringly crisp
(Do not let that scare you)
She wants for nothing
Needs no accoutrements
a scoop of cold, lush
vanilla ice cream
and almond number
is one of the best recipes
on this site
and I can promise
it will not disappoint you
like this post has
Plum and Frangipane Pie
frangipane adapted from Yossy Arefi
makes 1 double crusted 9-inch pie
for the crust:
438 grams (3 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) flour
40 grams (3 tablespoons) sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt (or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt)
340 grams (3 sticks, 1 1/2 cups) butter, cold and in chunks
14 grams (1 tablespoon) shortening (or more butter)
106 grams (7 tablespoons) water, ice cold
for the frangipane:
90 grams (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
72 grams (3/4 cup) almond meal or flour
1 large egg
2 teaspoons flour
splash vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
for the plum filling:
4 cups of fresh plums (about 6 plums)
70 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
30 grams (1/4 cup) flour
juice of 1 lemon
heavy cream or an egg wash, for brushing
Make the dough: whisk flour, salt, and sugar together.
Cut and mix the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the largest piece is pea-sized.
Sprinkle on the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time so that you can gather the dough into a cohesive mass.
Divide dough into two disks and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make the frangipane: beat softened butter with sugar; stir in remaining ingredients until a thick paste forms.
Set aside until ready to assemble.
Roll out one disk for the bottom crust portion on a lightly floured surface; transfer to pie plate, leaving a little overhang, then refrigerate.
Roll out top crust as desired: I rolled mine to the same size as the top of the pie, then used cookie cutters to make cut outs (you can do the same if you want lattice: roll it out and cut strips in the desired size).
Place top crust in the fridge.
Spread frangipane over the prepared bottom crust and place in the fridge.
Slice plums and place in a large bowl with the sugar, flour, and lemon juice (taste a slice before adding all the sugar: you may need +/- 1 tablespoon of sugar).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and ready a baking sheet to place the pie on.
Remove top crust from fridge so that it warms up slightly to become pliable.
Remove bottom crust lined with frangipane from the fridge; pour plum mixture over top and smooth to flatten.
Place top crust over bottom crust and trim to fit; crimp bottom crust as desired or place cut outs around the edge to create a decorative border.
Brush with cream or egg wash and sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes, placing aluminum foil around the edges if they brown too quickly.
Lower temp to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 60 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden and browned.
Allow to cool completely, preferably overnight.
“Men’s strengths go hand in hand with their weaknesses.
That is why there is no such thing as an invincible warrior, and why heroes die.”
― Shan Sa, Empress
November is here!
It’s cold, blustery, and the leaves and time have changed. Fall is set in deep.
That means Thanksgiving draws nigh. My favorite time to be busy cooking. I have prepared my menu and absolutely cannot wait to go home and be in a real kitchen with a real, fancy Wolf oven and a fridge that can actually maintain temperature. (Side eye @ my New York fridge. Sigh.)
Time has been flying with things being busy at work, and I haven’t gotten around to posting as much as I’ve wanted to. But! I have a few really great recipes I want to share before Thanksgiving, and I’ll also be doing a round-up of recipes from LPF and also other blogs in case you need some inspo!
Today, I’m sharing the world’s most perfect sour cream pound cake, studded with fuschia pink empress plums, tart and sweet and jammy, and rich, bitter dark chocolate and served warm with a scoop of creamy vanilla bean ice cream.
This is my new go-to recipe for pound cake. (!!!!)
It produces a cake with a tight, dense crumb that is remarkably moist without being heavy. The sour cream adds complexity and the cake isn’t overly sweet. It lends itself brilliantly to adaptations and different mix-ins.
Although plums + chocolate were nothing short of incredible, I’ll be adapting this same base recipe for Thanksgiving but with a caramel apple flavor. (~heart eyes~)
The possibilities are endless: chocolate, lemon, blood orange, etc. Tuck this recipe away in your back pocket for the next time you need a truly great pound cake!
Plum and Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake
adapted from Stella Parks, via Serious Eats
makes 1 loaf cake
250 grams (1 1/4 cups) sugar
142 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons, 10 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
215 grams (7.5 ounces, 1 2/3 cup fluffed and spooned) flour
140 grams (5 ounces, 2/3 cup) sour cream
4 finely chopped prune plums
1/3-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a loaf pan.
Place sugar, butter, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat on high speed for 4 full minutes, until light and fluffy with no graininess left.
Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each one to ensure they are incorporated fully.
Add in the flour in four portions and the sour cream in three; begin with the flour and alternate mixing the dry and wet.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on low for 30 seconds to ensure homogeneity.
Toss the chopped plums and chocolate chips with a tablespoon of flour, then gently fold into the batter.
Spread batter into prepared pan; bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out mostly clean and the inside registers 200 degrees F.
“Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.”
-Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson
I have bad news.
I did that thing I do again.
That thing that I do that makes no sense.
I scratched my compulsive, everything-from-scratch itch again.
I made bread- but not just any bread, a very involved, intricate, fussy, time-consuming bread.
Then, I chopped it up and made bread pudding.
I know. I think I’m crazy, too.
But this bread… Oh, this bread.
Soft, fluffy, snowy white.
Yes, white bread. Even though I’m a nuts-and-seeds, whole-food, whole-grain, fermented, brown, brown, brown bread type of girl, I love white bread.
We all do. I refuse to hear otherwise.
Think about it… crispy, crackly baguettes, eggy challah, white sourdough boules…
White bread is great, occasionally.
Now is one of those occasions.
I baked this bread following instructions at Kirbie’s Cravings.
She adapted it from a cookbook, 65 Degrees, which outlines the Tangzhong method of making bread.
This is a Japanese-style Hokkaido bread, which is a milk, butter, and cream enriched dough. In my experience, enriched yeast doughs need a little more care to ensure they come out perfectly. Her instructions could not be any better, so I’ll send you there if you’d like to try the bread. I highly recommend it.
(You will need a scale.) I halved the recipe so I would only get 1 loaf, but found myself regretting that we didn’t have two loaves. The tangzhong paste is sort of like a bread enhancer/saver, so it will last a bit longer than other homemade breads, another reason to make two loaves. Here’s the link: Kirbie’s Cravings’ Hokkaido Milk Toast (Thanks so much, Kirbie!!)
Some tips that I learned while making this bread:
The tangzhong cooks very quickly, so stay near it while it cooks.
Set a timer for 20 minutes and let the dough knead the entire time: due to the enriched nature of the dough, the gluten development is slightly inhibited (the butter, cream, egg, and milk make it difficult for the gluten to form) and needs a long kneading period.
Your dough needs to pass the membrane/windowpane test, which Kirbie describes perfectly. She even provides pictures.
Now, these bread puddings:
you should eat them warm, with a dollop of cold, freshly whipped cream.
The chocolate is melty, the plums are fall-apart tender and tart.
The top of the bread is crunchy and the underside is custardy.
Bread pudding is a fall dessert.
This bread pudding showcases the best of late summer: plums.
They’re roasted until bubbling and syrupy, then cut into small pieces and layered among fluffy bread cubes and dark chocolate chips, then smothered in custard and baked, again, until bubbling.
The juices pour down the sides as the puddings puff up; when you pull them out of the oven they will deflate a bit, but the result of the deflation is a lovely, dense custard, filled with goodies.
You could make these with any white bread: challah, sourdough, sandwich, brioche… just cut the crusts off.
Or, you could make them with Hokkaido milk toast… Which obviously I highly recommend.
P.S. Heat any leftovers (what’s a leftover) in the microwave for 20 seconds, so they warm up again. They’ll taste like they’re straight out of the oven.
Roasted Plum and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding makes 4 small ramekins, easily doubled, tripled, or quadrupled ingredients: 2 plums or pluots 1 tablespoon of sugar 3 1/2 inch thick slices of brioche, challah, or sourdough, crusts removed and cubed 1 egg 3/4 cup milk 1/2 a vanilla bean, scraped pinch of cinnamon 3 tablespoons sugar 4 tablespoons large chocolate chunks or chips turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional) whipped cream, for serving (optional) directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Halve and pit the plums and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and bake until syrupy and soft, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Whisk egg, milk, and 3 tablespoons sugar together with the scrapings of 1/2 a vanilla bean and a pinch of cinnamon. Lay bread cubes over the bottom of each ramekin and place a few chocolate chips over that layer. Cube the cooled plums; place a thick layer of plums over the first bread layer, about 1/2 plum per ramekin. Top with the remaining bread cubes and chocolate chips. Pour 1/4 of the egg mixture over each dish, then sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar. Bake until puffed, golden, and juices overflowing, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly; serve warm with whipped cream.
It was the perfect day- breezy, sunny but slightly cloudy, and warm without being overbearing.
We returned a few hours later with two quarts of sour cherries, two quarts of delicate raspberries, a 1/2 peck of peach “seconds” and a quart of yellow summer plums.
Quite a haul.
(We only picked the raspberries and cherries, though. Cheaters.)
We quickly threw the raspberries in a pot with some turbinado sugar and honey, something that was to become a jam, but, upon realizing that we could not for the life of us find that damn pectin, would have to be a thickened compote.
Oh well- I shall eat it swirled into thick, creamy Greek yogurt with hazelnuts and flax seeds.
A fine breakfast, if you ask me!
Then, we picked over the cherries and threw them in a pot with sugar and a spent vanilla bean.
I took charge of the plums.
After hastily eating 3, I decided to bake them into a quick cake.
This whole thing took, start to finish, about 45 minutes.
I swirled some (measurements are not precise, here, people: I free pour. Sorry.) maple syrup, honey, and a little nub of butter together, then nestled the plums among it.
I topped it with a quickly thrown together almond-olive oil cake batter.
The most wondrous thing happens with upside-down cakes: the caramel-syrup mixture melts into the fruit, creating jammy little pockets of heaven, and the cake, while crisp at the very top, absorbs some of the fruity, maple-honey syrup and becomes wonderfully perfumed.
These plums (called Early Goldens) turned from a pale yellow to an apricot orange.
The almond and vanilla pair just beautifully with these sweet little nuggets of summer.
If you can get your hands on some fresh, sweet stone fruit- I would suggest pluots or plums- make this cake.
Well this tart goes above and beyond those lil biscuits.
Just looking at it wraps me up in summer like a towel warmed by the sun after a bracingly cold dip in the lake.
A truly simple summer dessert, the star here is the fruit, so be sure to choose ripe, fragrant ones.
You can use any combination of stone fruits here; use whatever looks, smells, and feels best in your area.
A ripe stone fruit should be very fragrant- floral and a touch almond-y- should yield slightly to gentle pressure, and should separate from its pit quite effortlessly.
If you struggle to pull the pit from your first peach while making this recipe, put it off for a few days.
Put your fruit in a brown bag with a banana, which gives off copious amounts of ethylene, the fruit ripening hormone.
The crust will wait patiently in the freezer (wrap it well in aluminum foil) for the leading lords and ladies to take the stage.
I chose plums, peaches, and apricots because I wanted to showcase as many stone fruits as I possibly could, and I love the way their juices bleed colors into one another.
They all bring a certain flavor to the party: peaches are floral and fresh, plums are tart and crisp, and apricots are sweet and velvety.
In addition, all three work marvelously with almond, thanks to the noyaux in their pits.
I refurbished my favorite pâte sucrée to include plenty of almond meal; enough that you can taste it in the crust.
I also added a fine dusting of a buttery crumb with sugar and almond; it coaxes more flavor out of the fruit without overpowering the tart.
A note about the crust and the weather: in humid weather, tart crusts absorb moisture quickly.
They will be no less delicious, but markedly softer after a few hours in a humid and hot environment. If this is an issue, I suspect that storing the tarts in a refrigerator would help to diminish the softening.
Serve this tart with the simplest vanilla ice cream (recipe below).
Seriously, simplest ever!
Make it with cold half and half and it literally takes 3 minutes to put together, plus the 20 minutes for churning.
No eggs, no cooking, just cold, creamy, vanilla goodness.
It’s homemade ice cream for us impatient folks with a warm tart that needs accompaniment!
I’m referring to stoned fruits, of course: those token fruits of summer. Juicy, sweet, ripe peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, and apricots.
Now that summer has started and these fruits abound, I’m in heaven. Seriously. There is nothing better on a summer morning than some plain Greek yogurt with a sliced up white peach. Summer is a fruit lover’s dream. Go to your local farmer’s market and take a look around: you’re sure to find some amazing fruits, right along with the towering piles of garlic scapes and swiss chard. The other weekend, I picked up some beautiful red and green gooseberries and long, slender stalks of rhubarb, which I combined into an olive/pumpkin seed oil-polenta crumble. It was divine… In fact, it was gone too quickly for me to photograph (ugh), but I’ll share the recipe anyways. It’s a keeper, for those times when you might have some gooseberries and rhubarb lying around… Actually, it might be worth seeking out these seemingly esoteric ingredients. Inquire around your local market, I’m sure you can get your greedy paws hands on some. As for the tart(s) that are in the photos, they were quick almond-plum-nectarine tarts that I whipped up for a dinner guest. Slightly sweet chantilly topped them off for a perfectly light summer dessert. I was lucky that I took photos of them that very night, because the next morning not a crumb was left.
Other than the aforementioned stone fruits, I’m looking forward to a summer bounty of beets, kale, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, spicy carrots, an overwhelming amount of zucchini, melons, peppers, and squash. I’m always somewhat surprised when I’m reminded of how bountiful the region where I live really is; I’m always reminded to be thankful. What are you looking forward to in your CSA baskets, grocery shopping carts, or gardens this summer? Gooseberry, Rhubarb, and Polenta Crumble Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups red and green gooseberries 6 small stalks of rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch long pieces 2/3 cup turbinado sugar 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour 1/4 cup stone-ground polenta 1/4 cup cornmeal pinch of sea salt 1/3 cup+ oil (I used pumpkin seed and olive oil, and ended up needing just a splash more) Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the gooseberries and rhubarb with 1/3 cup turbinado sugar in an oven-proof dish. Put them in the oven while you prepare the crumble. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and cornmeals in a bowl. While stirring, add in the oil until the mixture comes together and has a texture like wettish sand. Pull the fruit out of the oven and top with the crumble. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling at the sides and the crumble is slightly crisp. Nectarine and Plum Almond Tart Bits and pieces from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Ingredients: 1 recipe tart dough 4 ripe nectarines 3 ripe plums 6 tablespoons butter, softened 2/3 cup sugar 3/4 cup blanched, ground almonds 2 teaspoons flour 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1 egg splash vanilla extract tiny splash almond extract Directions: Press your tart dough into your pan , prick with a fork, line with buttered foil, shiny side down, and freeze. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake tart dough for 15 minutes. Pulse the butter and sugar in a food processor until the mixture is smooth. Add the almonds, flour, and cornstarch and process, then add the egg. Add the extracts and process for just 15 seconds. Refrigerate. Slice up your plums and nectarines into thin slices. Remove the foil from the shells, pour in the almond cream, and arrange the slices as you desire. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the almond cream has puffed up and become golden brown. Let cool in pan, then remove to serve. Serve with fresh chantilly if desired (whip cream with a touch of confectioner’s sugar until soft peaks form).