I generally work on weekends. It’s something I’ve come to terms with only because I know it won’t last forever. I write. I bake. But those two things don’t always pay the bills, so I work retail on the weekends and dream of the day when I’ll have a Sunday like this one:
or this one:
Have you seen this book, Sundays are for Lovers? It’s the kind of little book you can have by your bed side and just keep glancing at and it makes you happy. It’s curated by MAV (maria alexandra vettese) 1/2 of the blog, 3191 miles apart and features writers like Molly Wizenburg, photographers like Jonathan Levitt and artists/designers including Deb Wood and Lena Corwin. It’s a veritable visual smorgasbord of what a sensual Sunday is all about. There is a photo or illustration accompanying each contributor and then they’re asked to answer a few simple prompts about their Sundays. From spicy Bloody Mary’s and grits to dreaming about a house by the sea and sitting on the stoop in the evening…this is Sunday encapsulated.
So I thought it’d be fun to answer the prompts, too as I thought about Sundays when I’m not waking up and putting on my practical shoes so I can stand and talk to customers all. day. long. These are my Sundays to come. I encourage you to make a Sunday list. It could be your current Sunday list…or maybe it’s your Sundays to come. Share it here if you’d like. I’d love to hear yours.
My home base is: just north of San Francisco
Day to day I work as: freelance writer
If I didn’t do this I would: bake
Next year I will travel to: the South (Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina)
To me Sunday means: catching up with friends and family, brunch, the New York Times
And I like to eat: poached eggs on toast. Or jammy scones. And strong coffee.
And I will get out of bed: 9
And get dressed around: 3
And I will smile about: the morning light, broken-in slippers, my favorite mug, possibility.
And I just may daydream about: spooning
And when Monday comes: I’ll answer work emails and make some more coffee
Thankfully, even when I’m working I still find time to bake. And these are the most perfect Sunday treat ever. They’re honestly a cinch to put together–the components themselves take a little time which is o.k. on a Sunday when you may be putzing around the house in the morning. It’s a dessert you’ll look forward to in the evening, and by now you know how I like to eat baked goods for breakfast. So I’d encourage that, too. These galettes make the house smell like a dream. Even if you have big weekend plans, you may not want to leave.
For this recipe, I used a very common and traditional pate brisee recipe for the galette crust and Tartine Bakery’s recipe for Frangipane Almond Cream. I love the combination of the beautiful, ripe figs with the slightly sweet almond cream and the flaky, butter crust. While the directions appear lengthy at first, this is really a very simple fall dessert. And it’s versatile: you could do this with stone fruit or berries in the summer, and I’m looking forward to trying it with apples.
Begin by making the galette dough: Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the cubes of butter and quickly pulse until the pieces of butter are about the size of large peas. Add the ice water through the feed tube while using long pulses until the dough comes together and sticks together when you squeeze it inbetween two fingertips. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more water if the mixture is too crumbly.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and pat into a round disk. Wrap tightly and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 4 days.
Next, make the almond cream: In a food processor, combine the almonds with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and process until finely ground. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the remaining sugar (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) and mix to incorporate. Add the almond-sugar mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the salt and the egg and mix until incorporated. Then, add the milk and mix until light and fluffy. Note: You should have about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the almond frangipane leftover. It stores well for up to a week; don’t be tempted to use it all in the galettes or they’ll tend to overflow and
Now, assemble the galettes:
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and slice into 4 even triangles*. Flour your work surface and your rolling pin. Beginning with one piece of dough, quickly form it into a round shape using your hands. With a rolling pin, roll out into a 7-8 inch rounds, about 1/4-inch thick. Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly round–it doesn’t matter. Place each dough round on lined baking sheet.
Spoon 2 tablespoons almond frangipane in the center of each dough circle and arrange the figs concentrically in the center, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. You can allow the figs to overlap. Lift the pastry edge and fold over filling to make a nice, crimped border–again, doesn’t have to be perfect. Once galettes are assembled, place in refrigerator for 1 hour (this helps with the flakiness of the dough).
Preheat the oven to 375 F. After the dough has chilled for 1 hour, remove from the refrigerator and prepare the egg wash: Whisk egg in a small bowl to make egg wash, and use it to brush the edges of the crust of each galette; sprinkle the sides of the crust with sugar.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until figs are bubbling slightly and edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream or mascarpone and honey if you’d like.
It turns out that returning from a sunny honeymoon to a rather rainy, dark stretch of Seattle fall hasn't been the easiest transition. Sam and I have been struggling a little to find our groove with work projects and even simple routines like cooking meals for one another and getting out of the easy daily ruts that can happen to us all. When we were traveling, we made some new vows to each other -- ways we can keep the fall and winter from feeling a bit gloomy, as tends to happen at a certain point living in the Pacific Northwest (for me, at least): from weekly wine tastings at our neighborhood wine shop to going on more lake walks. And I suppose that's one of the most energizing and invigorating parts about travel, isn't it? The opposite of the daily rut: the constant newness and discovery around every corner. One of my favorite small moments in Italy took place at a cafe in Naples when I accidentally ordered the wrong pastry and, instead, was brought this funny looking cousin of a croissant. We had a wonderfully sunny little table with strong cappuccino, and, disappointed by my lack of ordering prowess, I tried the ugly pastry only to discover my new favorite treat of all time (and the only one I can't pronounce): the sfogliatelle. I couldn't stop talking about this pastry, its thick flaky layers wrapped around a light, citrus-flecked sweet ricotta filling. It was like nothing I'd ever tried -- the perfect marriage of interesting textures and flavors. I became a woman obsessed. I began to see them displayed on every street corner; I researched their origin back at the hotel room, and started to look up recipes for how to recreate them at home. And the reason for the fascination was obviously that they were delicious. But even more: I'm so immersed in the food writing world that I rarely get a chance to discover a dish or a restaurant on my own without hearing tell of it first. And while a long way away from that Italian cafe, I had a similar feeling this week as I scanned the pages of Alice Medrich's new book, Flavor Flours, and baked up a loaf of her beautiful fall pumpkin loaf: Discovery, newness, delight!
I always force myself to wait until after Halloween to start thinking much about holiday pies or, really, future holidays in general. But this year I cheated a bit, tempted heavily by the lure of a warmly-spiced sweet potato pie that I used to make back when I baked pies for a living in the Bay Area (way back when). We seem to always have sweet potatoes around as they're one of Oliver's favorite foods, and when I roast them for his lunch I've been wishing I could turn them into a silky pie instead. So the other day I reserved part of the sweet potatoes for me. For a pie that I've made hundreds of times in the past, this time reimagined with fragrant brown butter, sweetened solely with maple syrup, and baked into a flaky kamut crust. We haven't started talking about the Thanksgiving menu yet this year, but I know one thing for sure: this sweet potato pie will make an appearance.
This time last week I was up in the Skagit River Valley sitting in the early fall sun eating wood-fired bagels and chatting with farmers, millers and bakers at the Kneading Conference West. I made homemade soba noodles, learned the ins and outs of sourdough starters, and sat in on a session where we tasted crackers baked with single varietal wheats. It was like wine tasting, but with wheat and the whole time I kept pinching myself, thinking: THESE ARE MY PEOPLE! I don't get the opportunity to be a student much these days -- usually on the other side of things teaching cooking classes or educating people at the farmers markets about whole grains and natural sugars. So to just sit and listen with a fresh (red!) notebook and a new pen was surprisingly refreshing. I miss it already. Thankfully, this cookie recipe has come back as a memorable souvenir, and one that is sure to be in high rotation in our house in the coming months.
Strolling New York City streets during the height of fall when all the leaves are changing and golden light glints off the brownstone windows. This is what I envisioned when I bought tickets to attend my cousin's September wedding earlier this month: Sam and I would extend the trip for a good day or two so we could experience a little bit of fall in the city. We'd finally eat at Prune and have scones and coffee at Buvette, as we always do. Sam wanted to take me to Russ and Daughters, and we'd try to sneak in a new bakery or ice cream shop for good measure. Well, as some of you likely know, my thinking on the weather was premature. New York City fall had yet to descend and, instead, we ambled around the city in a mix of humidity and rain. When we returned home I found myself excited about the crisp evening air, and the fact that the tree across the street had turned a rusty shade of amber. It was time to do a little baking.
I am writing this on Saturday afternoon on a day when we had big plans to conquer pre-baby chore lists, but Sam's not feeling great and my energy's a little low so it hasn't been quite what we'd envisioned. My goals for the morning were to repot a house plant and make some soup and I've done neither. I will say that the sweet potato and fennel are still sitting on the counter eagerly awaiting their Big Moment -- it just hasn't come about quite yet. Sam and I were both going to attempt to install the carseat, but it started to look really daunting so we abandoned ship; it's now sitting proudly in the basement, also eagerly awaiting its Big Moment. So it's been one of those weekends -- the kind you look back on and wonder what it is you actually accomplished. At the very least, I get the chance to tell you about this hearty cranberry cornbread. I know maybe it feels premature in the season for cranberry recipes, but hang with me here: slathered with a little soft butter and runny honey, there's nothing I'd rather eat right now on the cool, crisp Seattle mornings we've been having lately.