Monday, June 18, 2007

the joys of home baking

Are there better things to do than come home from your 48 hour work week, take your dog grocery shopping, and pick blackberries from your backyard? I think not. I've got perhaps 2 cups of ripe berries, which means tomorrow I get to make cornmeal dough from the Chez Panisse Fruit book and do tartlettes. I'll even give them to the writers on Wednesday if they turn out well...I've still got last week's pie kicking around and that Clover half and half the fridge is really just an excuse to make more custards since the peach leaf custards from last week didn't turn out so well. I took the proportions and infusion instructions from the peach leaf parfait and used them for creme brulees and the resulting custard is so bitter only my Persian mananger at Frog Hollow would like it :( (but the panna cottas and peach leaf syrup were flavored perfectly. hmph.)

The peach leaf custard itself, though (courtesy of David Lebovitz rather than Cheffy for the small batch size), is so smooth and sexy and eggy-perfect despite only needing 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven and not the 50 minutes the recipe suggests.

My old boss would be nodding gruffly and pleased to see me covering my custards tightly with foil and making sure they don't curdle. I'm pleased, but I want edible, sweet custard...ginger-lemon, perhaps, or plain vanilla bean with blackberries?

The roommate requested the chocolate cherry tart I was never than pleased with for her birthday present. She said she tried to think of all the things she'd had she'd liked the best recently and came up with that. I shrugged and asked pastry chef questions pertaining to which version she liked best, how she felt about the winey taste of Scharffen Berger 70% (she wants me to mix some with the E. Guittard 62% kicking around the house), discussed how I have to candy my sale bin cherries from last week's Berkeley Bowl trip. Still got my Blenheims which ideally I'll roast and think about how I want to roast my apricots for the vanilla babycakes (butter, pepper, honey, nada mas?). I'm very VERY happy I'm making vanilla cakes because I adore that recipe. And look forward to snacking. I'm happy to make her the chocolate cherry cake...but I wish I liked it better.

Cupcake craziness over for another week. Sometimes it gets daunting, looking at all those cupcakes. Thinking about all those cupcakes. I'll make 30 L of batter, or bake two Cambros and frantically make more. De-pan in quick 2x2 succession. The boss liked my piping technique this morning--I'm happy.

Dinner now. Mushrooms, zucchini, onion and roma tomatoes sauteed with pasta. Got them all at Mi Ranchito for a dollar. Soon, I'll get to go to the Thursday night FB market...but no mas Mi Ranchito. Add it to the things to miss about the East Bay.

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