Next in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Not a fan of apricots
I don't think.
But I guess I don't really know since the last time I ate an apricot was
somewhere in the dark reaches of my past.
The fresh apricots are in season and in my refrigerator.
I have apricot jam.
The brioche dough is made so I have the dough (I worked it up to make the apple-pear coffee cake - my homemade pie filling I canned last year makes TWO coffeecakes so I was waiting for company to come so I can give one away)
But I will also have to give some of this apricot stuff away because it makes 8 small pastries... yeah, probably not small :-)
But.. a deep breath
pastry cream? Me? a custard, it says. Me? (I repeat)
This book is awesome though and has carried me through surprising things.... like fougasse and strombolis and soft pretzels.... so I have faith.
I wanted to share this experiment in real time so you can see how my kitchen-challenged brain works.... most people seem to GET it.... I really don't.. but I do keep trying!
I have read the recipe a dozen times... and am gathering ingredients. Egg, Egg yolks (saving the whites for a scramble later), sugar, vanilla, cornstarch... okay.. heading back to the stovetop to finalize and make the custard..... wish me luck!
So.... some ingredients go into a saucepan and are supposed to heat to a gentle boil..... TIME! but there are a couple of hard chunks of butter that give me clues :-)
And a few other ingredients get mixed together to a paste... BUT I really don't want the past ready until the pan boils so... (okay - I am a distracted cook but a CLEAN one... I washed the dishes and gave a snack to the 4 year-old, filled the dog water and KEPT checking the pot!) When the pot looked CLOSE, I put a lid on it and finished the paste.
So... THEN I needed to pour a little of the hot stuff into the past stuff and whisk until the paste stuff is warm to the touch. This is where I get stuck - usually... and.. I spilled... (which drove me a little crazy because it is hard to wipe while you are whisking... with a fork because I don't own a whisk...) But I got there without too much dog barking and kid whining... and...
THEN... pour the warm paste into the pot and bring BACK to a boil while whisking CONTINUOUSLY for 2-3 minutes... so... I'm whisking.. and wiping.. and putting stuff away as far as I can reach... nothing is happening (why am I whisking continuously?) So.. I step away for something or the other... and when I step back ... oh durn... LUMPS! (now I know why the CONINUOUS!).. but I wasn't gone long so I whipped those puppies away..
At the appointed time... I poured it into a shallow pan (already out) and put plastic wrap on top right away (to keep from forming a crust - per instructions :-).... and set in the freezer for 15 minutes... Ahhhhhh..
deep breath now... a 15 minute timer to go do something else.... (finished up the last pillowcase and my anchor cloth blocks)... and then put the cream in the fridge.
Sorry I didn't take many photos - I wasn't thinking
Ready to tackle the dough! Take a cantaloupe sized piece, roll out and cut into 8 four-inch circles using a cookie cutter. [oh cr*p, here we go again! I don't have a 4-inch cookie cutter - or any other kind! You can now envision me running around my kitchen looking for a round 4-inch substitute - after I get my measuring tape) FOUND a 5-inch little bowl that will be good enough!
Whew! Rolling pin and pastry sheet are MIA since the beginning of the kitchen reno (unfinished due to tax issues... waiting for savings to build back up!) so...... bit by bit I did in fact manage to create 8 small ovals which are now lightly sugared and resting. Now to prepare the apricots... does anyone know? Do you peel them? Back to the internet to find out!
YES! I DO need to peel them! <sigh> another side trip.. hope the dough enjoys the rest!
So - to peel apricots, you need to boil water and slip the skins off - like tomatoes..... so my 4-year old grand girl and I started working on apple-pear coffee cakes while the water boiled....
and then all things had to cease while I juggled hot apricots, slippery skins and figured out how to put the pastries together...
What a MESS peeling those things!
.. but the pastries ARE pretty (a little sloppy - but pretty).... rest 45 minutes... oh, that is the pastry, not me! No fair!
Clean up and finish up the coffee cakes while my girl drinks the apricot juice and eats the custard .... (hee-hee - some kind of leftover!)
The 45 minutes passes while we get the coffee cakes together.... they need to rest an hour and a half.... and are done as the timer hits 15 min.... so far so good...
Oh my goodness! Now the fat hits the fire!
My daughter and her two little ones arrive. So we visit and it gets a little hectic.. but the pastries are in, timer on and coffee cakes resting so I am still good. We visit and get lunch for 3 toddlers ready... and BING!!! Timer!
Instructions: Immediately brush apricot jam on the pastries. Okay, well I didn't want lunch anyway.... jam brushing!
They DID turn out pretty :-)
We get ready to head out to the beach for a bit..... uh-oh... coffee cakes.... DARN! Okay - daughter putting kids in the car... and I am winding up... Put the cakes in the oven, grab towels, give instructions to the hubs and, oh no! what is that smell? The coffee cakes are spilling over... toss a jelly roll pan underneath to catch drips... a flame? My husband is so calm..... no worries, it'll burn off..... let's put foil on the second shelf.... okay - I am gone..
so a quiet sandy beach interlude with only a bit of kid squabbling and good talking with my girl.... and I come home to?
Coffee cakes..... well cooked around the edges but completely soggy in the center.... followed instructions to a T - but I was about 10 minutes short in my instructions! My fault entirely!
Long story short.... I made her a stromboli to take home for dinner..... cooked the coffee cakes some more and rescued them.... she left a little later than she planned but did take some of my pastry goodies with her AND dinner. I need to make a couple more strombolis for dinner... Because with the help of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day... I routinely make some bread things (like stromboli)
And I did in fact make some BEE-YOO-TI-FUL sunny side up apricot pastries! And I never ever have to make them again :-) But I did it! And I do have a family request to try it with apples or blueberries...
I have discovered that I still do not like custard and I still do not like apricots. As a matter of fact, I need to find a home for a jar of apricot jam!
The next one to make is Chocolate Bread..... hope I don't set the oven on fire again...