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 had every intention of starting a new tradition this year and hosting a cookie swap with some of our local friends, but somehow the season really got the best of me and it just hasn't happened. But! That hasn't stopped me from getting a head start on holiday baking; I posted a photo on Instagram the other day of some of my very favorite holiday cookbooks, and asked if there was a way we could all just take the whole week off to bake instead of work. Judging from the responses, it seems I'm not the only one who thinks this would be a really great idea. But back here in reality, cookie baking is relegated to later evenings or, I hope, this weekend we'll find some time to eek in a few batches (the recipe for Sam's mom's Nutmeg Logs is up next, and I'm set on making gingerbread men to take with us down to the Bay Area). Right now on our countertop, we've got a batch of these crumbly, chocolatey, whole grain shortbread that have proven to be a big hit. The ingredient list is small and simple, the technique foolproof, and I think they're a real standout in a sea of holiday cookies.
Hello from the other side! I realize we haven't been back here for a few weeks, and I'm sorry for dropping into a little black hole. My cookbook deadline was Monday, so I've been a writing and editing machine, stepping away from the computer to occasionally clean the house like a crazy person or throw together a most random lunch or dinner. But somehow it all came together although there was something strangely anti-climactic about sending it off: In the days when you'd print out your manuscript and have to walk to the post office and seal it up carefully to send to the publisher, I imagine it would feel much more ceremonial and important --you could stroll out of the building and do a cartwheel. Or high-five a fellow customer on your way out. Instead, I was sitting in our dining room on an incredibly rainy, dark Monday afternoon unable to hit "send." My sister Zoe told me to just close my eyes and do it. Sam gave me the thumbs up. So around 3 p.m. that's what I did. With the click of a button, just like that: it was finished.
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.
We've been waking up early these days with baby Oliver. I've always been a morning person, so this isn't particularly challenging for me -- although the middle of the night feedings have proven to be really tough. There has been a lot of finessing of sleep schedules and figuring out how Sam and I can both get enough to function well the following day. And just when we think we have it down ("gosh, aren't we lucky we have a baby that sleeps?"), everything changes. When I was in the final weeks of pregnancy and would talk about how I couldn't wait for the baby to be here, all of my friends with kids would advise me to sleep as much as possible -- and now I get it. I should've napped more. I should've listened. In getting up at odd times throughout the night with Oliver, I've had the chance to occasionally see some really brilliant sunrises (although not this past week which has been a particularly dark one in Seattle); I've made up some wacky baby tunes that I'm happy no one else can hear; and I generally have a good hour in which I can put him in the sling and walk briskly around the house trying to soothe him back to sleep while also putting away a dish or two or making a quick cup of coffee. In that hour, I can usually get something productive done and this past weekend that something was pear gingerbread.