Archive for May, 2007

Morel-Feta Pizza and Peach Crisp with Noyaux Ice Cream – Another Market Day

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I came home from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market today with two kinds of amazingly juicy and flavorful peaches (Spring Crest and an unspecified yellow, 2# each), a bulb of fennel, a bag of three red onions, pickling cucumbers, and a little paper bag with about eight morel mushrooms. I’ve been coveting the morels for a while, but have been deterred by, oh, the extravagance — $12/half #. Turns out that mine were about $3, and the kind mushroom man even threw in a few extra.

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For the peaches, all were dipped in boiling water for a minute before being plunged in an ice bath, cut with an x, and slipped out of their skins. They were both clingstone (as opposed to freestone), so I did my best to extricate as much flesh as possible with my knife. The Spring Crest peaches were mixed with half their weight in sugar and the juice of a lemon; they’ll be boiled into peach preserves tomorrow. For a peach crisp, the other half were mixed with just a couple teaspoons of flour in my beloved Emile Henry pie dish to thicken up the juices (recipe, such as it is in its simple genius, from Chez Panisse Desserts; no added sugar necessary if you’ve got sweet fruit), and baked with a crisp topping — flour, dark brown sugar, oats (ALL crisps need oats, as far as I’m concerned, and no nuts), salt, butter (I have the luxury of having some Echire in my fridge that I’m just dying to get rid of before it goes bad; I’m happy with Challenge butter, too), and cinnamon; I also added a bit of cardamom, black pepper, and dried thyme for intrigue. Baked it until it bubbly, and let it cool down a little. I knew once my serving spoon effortlessly glided through it that it would be just what I wanted.

I pulled some noyaux ice cream that I had out of the freezer to accompany it, because cold ice cream melting into a warm crisp is one of my favorite things in the world. I made it when I had apricot pits to spare from an apricot preserves project. Noyaux are the almond-like kernels found in the middle of stone fruits’ pits. They look like this…

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They impart a slightly bitter almond flavor, much like Amaretto liqueur, which is, in fact, made mainly with noyaux (not almonds). It may seem like a tedious endeavor to get them out, but it’s fun if you’re in the mood. The key is cushioning, because it involves wielding a hammer. Fold a plush dish towel under a cutting board, and fold some paper towels into layers. Scatter a few apricot pits (or peach or cherry) amongst the paper towels on the cutting board, and tap-TAP with a hammer until each cracks open and extricate the nuggets inside. I infused 20 of them in 2 cups cream, 1 cup milk, and 1/3 cup sugar for about half an hour and added a pinch of salt and touch of vodka before chilling and spinning it into ice cream (I’m often leaving the yolks out of my ice cream now for a cleaner flavor; it’s also nice that it’s easier this way). I still have about 25 noyaux leftover from that; they’re in my freezer, but I’m not sure if that will preserve them.

To make candied fennel, the fennel bulb was sliced, poached until tender in water, salt, and lemon juice, and then poached in a weak simple syrup until translucent; method from The French Laundry Cookbook. I’ll have it with the crisp or ice cream/sorbet or yogurt or something over the next month. I was inspired to make this by Carol’s recent post.

The pickling cucumbers will turn into refrigerator pickles in the next couple days, and the red onions will also be pickled.

And now… morel pizza talk. I was craving pizza last night, but in a moment of lucidity, $15 for a delivered pizza seemed a little outrageous. I had instant dry yeast, flour, salt, and water, so there was no excuse for me not to make it myself. I used a drop-dead easy recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. You just mix the ingredients together (I subbed 10% of the flour with whole wheat flour; and he suggests chilling the flour before mixing), divide the dough into pieces, shape them into balls, and chill (or put in oiled bags in your freezer and defrost a day in advance of baking). Then, you take out however much you want over a three day period, and put it on the counter 2 hrs before you want to eat (so that it can fully proof). Fire up your oven as high as it will go, shape the dough using your best impression of a pizzeria worker, and bake for about 8 minutes. Since the chill in the fridge slows the growth of the yeast, the flavor is deeper/smoother and the texture creamier than a shorter, more laborious method.

I admit, though, that sometimes drop-dead easy isn’t enough for me. I kind of messed it up… before saving it. The recipe calls for 20 oz flour and much less water, but in a fog of carefree ease, I added 20 oz of water, too. I discovered that after the dough was supposed to be done mixing. Sure, it had looked suspiciously wet, but I’ve seen many wet doughs pull themselves together eventually. This one was still wet… and pretty tough with gluten when I pulled an ear to check it. So, I did some quick math, and added the appropriate amounts of flour, salt, and yeast to fix it. I mixed it in a stand mixer to integrate it, but I was concerned that that the gluten already formed was getting too strong, so I kneaded it by hand to even it. It’s pretty hard to over-knead a batch of dough by hand, so I hope that I closed the gap some between the high and low gluten levels.

When I came home with my morels this morning, I was determined to have morel pizza for lunch, but I wasn’t sure how the morels would like being baked in a scorching oven. Reinhart talks about how the mastery of pizza involves mastering the moment when the crust and the topping are done at the same time, without sogginess or burning. Since I don’t really like mushrooms and tomatoes together, my pizza was only going to be cheese and vegetable, so I decided not to tempt fate trying to conjure up perfect topping-crust timing wizardry. I would simply heat the crust and the topping separately.

I followed Suzanne Goin‘s advice to soak the morels gently in warm water to clean, because they did look a touch dirty, and dried them as best I could. Then I adapted a recipe from the Mustard’s cookbook for Morel Mushroom and Goat Cheese Toasts, subbing what I had on hand — red onions for shallots, feta for goat cheese, dried thyme for fresh, and pizza crust for toast. The morels were sauteed with red onions, thyme, black pepper, oil, butter, and cognac, eyeballing all of the amounts.

I shaved some parmesan cheese onto the shaped dough, baked it for about 8 minutes at 500F, crumbled on some feta, topped it with the morel mixture, and garnished with parsley. It was pretty amazing. And yes, the only thing better than morels on pizza is morels with cognac. The crust was nicely webbed, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside — and didn’t seem damaged. Not bad for a roughly $4 pizza, hastily photographed so that I could eat.

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This was all done by 2:00pm, which is great, because I have a new candy bar to (hopefully) finish up…

The Rhubarb Conspires

Thursday, May 24th, 2007
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And according to Nigella Lawson, in about six weeks, I will have a perfectly lovely Rhubarb Schnapps.

All I had to do was mix together sugar, rhubarb, and vodka. I also sterilized the jars in a 225 oven for about 10 minutes and let them cool a little, just to be safe. I will happily shake them up every day for the next four weeks or so… because they’re gorgeous. I also manipulated that a little by using the reddest parts of my rhubarb stalks for the schnapps; the (green) remainder I made confit out of, with just sugar and water. This is the first schnapps that I’ve attempted. As with all of my preserves, I am trying to figure out how little sugar I can get away with, and will probably decrease the prescribed amount next time.

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, I’m really into preserving now, and it’s remarkable how fun and easy it is. Fun because I enjoy selecting and fabricating fruit, and easy because making these things require little more work than that… mostly stirring, perhaps boiling, and maybe ladling. There’s a bit of waiting involved w/ the liqueurs, but waiting for a long period of time for something to come to fruition isn’t really waiting when you’re busy with other things. It’s more like giving your future self a gift. You’ll only need to open and enjoy it, or share it with others.

So far, I’ve also made strawberry preserves (camarosas have been the most flavorful to me, but I’ve also tried gaviotas and chandlers), apricot preserves (earlicots and royal gold), candied cherries, and brandied cherries. Tonight, I’ll pickle for the first time ever, to make the pickled onions that I had with the Zuni burger.

Anyway, this is more of a PSA post than anything else… Anyone who wants to capture summer in a jar (before summer even starts!) so that they can enjoy, say, lovely liqueurs and cocktails on hot summer nights might want to start doing something about it right about now.

Books that I’m looking at for preserving ideas…

How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Room for Dessert
and Ripe for Dessert by David Lebovitz
Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber
The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
Perfect Preserves by Hilaire Walden

Elise also has good posts and recipes.

And I’ve never loved a ladle more than my square ladle; the flat edges do wonders to get everything out of the pot, and it pours cleanly.

Once I get more certain with my preserving technique, I’ll write about more it. But… I can’t help it — for further encouragement, here are some things that I’m doing…

  • In the past, I was always discouraged by the thought of boiling water to sterilize the jars and then moving them around with tongs. Hot shattered glass and boiling water are among the last things I want to deal with in my life. Then I learned about the very dry and very neat oven method, which June Taylor uses. Simply put your jars (without lids) on a sheet pan in a 225 oven for about 10 minutes. I do this when I begin cooking, and then turn off the oven until my preserves are ready. Then I slide out the rack with the sheet pan and ladle in the preserves from above before sealing and moving them to a wire rack to cool overnight.
  • If you’re making preserves to eat soon, don’t worry about jars. Just put them into a container that you can refrigerate, and keep them chilled.
  • I took a marmalade class with June Taylor last year, and her advice has stuck in my mind — use the least amount of sugar possible, choose the smallest fruit, and avoid commercial pectin. All of this is to create a preserve that has the purest, most intense flavor. Traditional recipes call for a lot of sugar — often equal weight as the fruit. June Taylor’s preserves are about 20% sugar… and yours can be be, too. She said that large fruit is often amped up with water, which dilutes the flavor… and goes against a “bigger is better” mantra. Luckily, you’ll sometimes find smaller fruit on sale for lower prices, simply because of their size. Take advantage of that because low sugar, no-additive preserves means that each jar contains a lot of fruit — and fruit is always more expensive than sugar. When I calculate the cost of fruit for each pint jar of preserves that I’ve made so far, they run between $3.00 to $5.00/jar.
  • Cook at high heat in relatively small batches (I do about 2# of fruit per pot, and have made a couple pots in a night). This will help preserve the flavor of the fruit, so that it doesn’t taste cooked. If cooking that much at once is intimidating, cook in batches in a non-stick saute pan; you’ll get more familiar with how it acts with every batch — and such a small size will only take 3-5 minutes each. The LATimes does it this way.
  • Firm-ripe and organic fruits are best. Herbs, spices, and combinations of fruit are fair game in preserves.  Always have lemons on hand so that the juice can add acidity.

And thanks to Erin for starting me on the preserving-with-alcohol kick. Back when I was looking up rhubarb recipes, I came across this post about her rhubarb schnapps last year. It made me realize that the only thing better to add to fruit than sugar and water is alcohol.

And thanks to my reader, Aaron, who gave me great advice to start off my preserve-making.

The Scotch Bar

Sunday, May 20th, 2007
*You can now purchase my candy bars and marshmallows at http://www.bonbonbar.com/
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The Scotch Bar: Scotch Ganache layered with Fleur de Sel Caramel and topped with Fleur de Sel. Semi-enrobed in Dark Chocolate.

This is one smooth bar. The sensational flavor combination that is Scotch and chocolate is rounded out by silky, slightly salty caramel, and semi-wrapped within a thin chocolate shell. No crunch, except for the delicate fleur de sel crystals, and just enough chew to satisfy. This bar is meant to melt.

If you haven’t experienced the marvelous sensation that is tasting chocolate and Scotch together, you really should. And here comes the science… In the Scharffen Berger book, it says that, when combined, “new, intense flavors emerge that seem to improve the taste of both the whiskey and the chocolate.” They speculate that they contain similar chemical compounds (classes of alcohols, aldehydes, acids, and esters) that produce “an additive or possibly synergistic effect.” Both have vanilla and caramel notes, but the wonderful match is probably a result of many more little catalysts within each. Other alcohols share similar characteristics, but Scotch goes a little bit further with chocolate. There’s a special warmth and fragrance with Scotch; it’s mellowing. I like it better than rum, which I feel usually competes with or over-runs the chocolate.

The wide slab shape is similar to Fry’s Turkish Bar. It feels delicate, but substantial. I don’t like too much tempered chocolate with caramel because I feel like it gets in the way of a smooth chewiness and flavor, so that’s why I wanted the open top. If enrobed just so, there’s a thin frame of chocolate for the caramel rectangle that looks smart and modern, especially with the white dots of fleur de sel. Although it looks like there’s quite a bit of fleur de sel, the salt isn’t overpowering, and just adds a little something to the main flavor combination. The smaller flakes make it less explosive than large crystals of salt. The caramel is cooked to a relatively low temperature so that it is not too chewy.

I already have too many fields that I’m trying to sort out by variety (such as fruits and wines), so I admit that I’m not a scotch expert. I used Johnny Walker Black Label, which I think does the job well, but if anyone has any suggestions for their favorite Scotch — perhaps single malt — please do let me know. Nothing too extravagant and without strong, smoky flavors, but good.

Other Homemade Candy Bars in Progress:

Spiced Caramel Nut Bar
S’More Bar
The Coconut
Peanut Butter Bar
Coffee Bar
Malt Bar
Banana Bar
Beer Bar
Orange Bar

Pizzeria Mozza – Los Angeles

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Okay, I just want to know — did anyone else have a tired jaw by the end of their Mozza pizza?

I didn’t notice it to be particularly chewy or tough while eating it in the beginning, but by the end, I really wanted to let my jaw take a nap, get a massage, toughen up, or in some way feel better.

The fact that I was set on getting the famed Butterscotch Budino for dessert made me grateful for it’s no-chew-necessary comfort… but as for the two cookies that came with it… I mulled over whether I could handle the chewing. Of course, I ate one (and cleverly gave the other to Chad), but I actually mulled over eating one little cookie.

Anyway, let me go back to the beginning.

Probably catalyzed by Frank Bruni’s Mozza Mozza Mozza Madness, I felt an even greater desire than usual to try it out last Sunday afternoon. I called to ask if they had room for two for dinner, and they said “No, we don’t have anything.” I started to say “O-..” until they said:” “Not until 9:45.” I said: “Oh? So, you d-… Ok! I’ll take it.”

When we walked in, I was amazed by how small it is. Stylish and sleek with high ceilings, to be sure, but really, it’s just a room with about 11 tables, and two bars lined with seats (one bar faces the pizza oven and pizza-makers, the other faces the wines). We sat at a table, but I’d recommend to anyone planning to go to aim for the pizza bar. I had a good side view of the wood-burning oven, but to watch the oven and the pizza makers up close would be pizzeria nirvana.

I admit that I’ve only skimmed over some of the many reviews/accounts of Mozza and the Nancy Silverton/Mario Batali/Joseph Bastianich partnership… I like to know about recommended dishes b/c I have a habit of ordering the obscurely dreadful if left to my own devices, but I don’t want to know too much before I go. Aside from enjoying flavors, I like surprises. Frankly, when I went to the French Laundry last year, I felt like I was in a movie that I’d already seen because I’d pored over the cookbook, made a few dishes, and read a lot about it. There were still surprises during that wonderful meal, but it really is like movies — if you read too many reviews beforehand, the movie itself feels redundant. The real fun is reading reviews after the experience, to compare notes with others.

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I ordered the fennel sausage, panna, and red onion (front) and Chad ordered the Coach farm goat cheese, leeks, scallions, and bacon (back); but we agreed to split each pizza. All the pizzas on the menu sounded good to me. When things such as guanciale, taleggio, littleneck clams, lardo, burrata, fingerling potatoes, salumi salame, and so much more are strewn about a pizza menu, the choice becomes nerve-racking until it’s irrelevant… It feels like you can’t go wrong.

Fittingly, I really can’t say which pizza I liked better — the flavors of the toppings of each were fantastic. True to the best that they can be, and congenial with each other. As I’ve mentioned before, I love lots of tomato sauce on pizza and I was initially disappointed that neither had any… but I didn’t miss it. It would have muddled things, and both pizzas had a satisfying moist creaminess, thanks to the cream and goat cheese. The chunky, homemade sausages set a new standard. I don’t know if I liked the flavor or the texture better — loose, yet meaty and juicy, with a wonderful fennel bite.

I love the arrangement of toppings, too. Nicely distributed, but felt like it happened by chance. The pieces of topping are big enough to feel rustic and substantial without being difficult to eat… The only trick was to keep them balanced on the slices before they tumbled off.

Then there’s the crust. Bruni wrote that it has some rye flour and malt syrup, and it sits 36 hours before use. I’ll let him describe it, too: “softly chewy in spots, crisply charred in others, ever so faintly sweet, even more faintly sour.” The outermost crust is a wonder — instead of spongy tubes of dough, it’s mostly hollow, with crunchy and chewy walls. It’s fun to bite into. Both pizzas had centers that were soaked in olive oil, though, which made for a little sogginess. But if it’s good olive oil and your jaw is tired, it’s pretty refreshing.

I’m a little torn on the size of the pizza (about 10 inches)– it’s a little too big to comfortably eat in one sitting, but a little too small to think of taking some home. I ate the equivalent of a whole pizza, but at least it felt light in my stomach… not brick-like or painful.

We also had wine with our pizza. They serve many wines by the 250ml carafe, which I like because it feels casual, yet luxurious.

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Butterscotch Budino with Caramel Sauce, Creme Fraiche Whipped Cream, and Pine Nut Rosemary Cookies. This was fine, but nothing more; if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t order it again. I may be a pastry-makin’ person, but off the top of my head, I can think of three butterscotch puddings that I’ve made and liked better. There was a faint graininess to this. I liked the caramel sauce a lot — salty and deep — but with the butterscotch and caramel in the cookies, it just seemed like too much within a narrow spectrum of flavors, and too sweet. I don’t think that the rosemary helped; it felt out of place, even though it provided some contrast in the dish. The LA Times has an article and recipe here.

The cookies, btw, came 5th in the LATimes Great Cookie Challenge of 2006 (recipe included). I like the look of the frond of rosemary, and I also like to think of it as a Silverton touch. The Lemon Fennel Hat cookies that I made for culinary school graduation had fennel fronds in the same style (recipe in this book).

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Caramel Coppetta – Caramel Gelato, Caramel Sauce, Marshmallow Sauce, and Roasted Peanuts. No chocolate in sight, but this says “Snickers” to me. I liked it better than the budino, maybe b/c the gelato was so smooth.

As Chad and I left the restaurant, our discussion went something like this…
Chad: “I want another pizza.”
Me: “Aren’t you full?”
Chad: “Yes. I want another pizza.”
Me: “Isn’t your jaw tired?”
Chad: “Yes. I want another pizza.”

So do I.

Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

Saturday, May 12th, 2007
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For some time, I’ve wanted to make a confession… For all of my goings on about candy bars, I actually go to farmer’s markets at least once a week, and for the rest of that day, fruit gets priority over chocolate. I like to use fruit fresh before I have to refrigerate it, so for a short time, the silkiness of chocolate is replaced by the vibrancy of fruit. I feel a sort of calm benevolence on my market day — a sort of bliss that comes with searching out, discovering, and collecting these ephemeral gems that come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, flavors, and textures. And now that I’m past the point of basic fruit identification and preparation, it’s an exciting time to get to know each fruit better, in their infinite varieties.

I buy whatever looks good in whatever quantity I can manage, because I’ve found that farmer’s markets defy shopping lists… and plans. So, I come home, and brainstorm and research to figure out what to make and how, with an eye towards perhaps incorporating something like preserves into my candy bars.

Then I get to it right away. It’s beautiful work… I feel lucky watching the bubbling strawberry preserves that’s a deeper, shinier red than rubies (and which I plan to use in my peanut butter candy bars)… managing the soft, juicy flesh of snow angel white peaches for peach frozen yogurt… gently pulling away orange peels from the ball of flesh inside, accompanied by the brisk snap of citrus oil…

I’ve become a bit of a purist with my fruit. Ideally, I’d eat it fresh and unadorned, but my appetite doesn’t usually permit me to eat it all at once (esp since I also have to sample chocolate experiments every day… and keep room for “real food”). So, I consider what I do preservation work, to keep the flavors of each fruit purely contained in one form or another. Sugar figures largely in this. If I add some sugar and perhaps water and lemon juice and maybe some heat, it’s a sorbet (my freezer averages 7-10 sorbets and ice creams). If I add a bit more sugar and perhaps lemon juice and a lot more heat, it’s a conserve. If I add something in the way of flour, butter, or eggs, it’s a baked good.

Baking requires the most ingredients/cost/work/heat/clean up and lasts the least amount of time (not everything freezes well), so I haven’t done it as much recently. It also mixes flavors into a definite combination. To me, the beauty of sorbets and conserves is that you can make a flavor of each that you can adjust through additions whenever you please, for as long as it lasts. So, instead of making a strawberry-tequila sorbet, I’ve become content to make a good strawberry sorbet and pour a little tequila on it, if that’s what I want… or maybe add a little black pepper, or parsley ice cream, or orange sorbet… it can change every time I scoop it into a bowl. If I don’t, however, have enough of one fruit to make a realistic batch, I’ll give in and make, say, a strawberry-orange sorbet. Anything goes on market day — it’s really just a little game I’ve devise for myself to use up every last scrap that I can of food that I admire. Chocolate Mint, Six Ways was a previous installment, using up an entire bunch of chocolate mint.

So, today, I drove home with cherries, strawberries, and rhubarb… And I was in the mood to bake! The rhubarb and cherries made it a special occasion. I just haven’t been able to find purchase-able rhubarb at my farmer’s markets — it’s either absent or scraggly. I admit that today was no different, but I finally resorted to buying it at the Santa Monica Coop on the way home. I only got a pound of it, though, because it was $3.29/lb.

The presence of cherries for the past couple of weeks has helped get me through this paucity of rhubarb. Maybe the warm weather has brought in the cherries a bit early this year, and after the havoc the heat wrought on my chocolates this week, the cherries are also going a long way to justify the heat. I got some Brooks cherries (somewhat firm-fleshed, not too sweet, red) and a soft-fleshed, reddish black cherry… I asked for the variety when I bought them, and the vendor said “Gigi.” But I’m not entirely convinced that she wasn’t talking to the woman behind her, b/c I can’t find information on this type of cherry. I suspect that it’s a Bing or…?

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I would have liked to make an all-rhubarb dessert, but a pound isn’t very much and I thought about how to stretch it out into a full dessert. Strawberries would have been the obvious pairing, but maybe too obvious… and most of my Camarosa strawberries were earmarked for perfecting my preserves… and the rest, (Chad and) I felt like eating fresh.

I then started thinking about pairing the cherries with the rhubarb… and how the sweetness and tartness would complement each other well, and how their natural flavors would just be wonderful together.

So, when I got home, I rounded up some cookbooks for more ideas, and I was thrilled to find a recipe for Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I just got this book recently, and after using one of her previous books, reading her blog, and following the eGullet thread, I’ve been looking forward to trying out some recipes. What a wonderful coincidence that she — and Nick Malgieri, incidentally — also thought that this combination was a great idea.

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And the cobbler was terrific — a fresh and tasty dessert that used my precious rhubarb and cherries to their full effects. Greenspan adds ginger into the mix, and I think that it’s the spark that heightens all of the flavors…. and the whole wheat-brown sugar biscuits on top are a comforting background. It was one of the most fully flavored cobbler that I’ve ever had.

The recipe uses a bit more cherries than rhubarb, and the filling is rounded out by sugar, cornstarch, and ground ginger. I was really impressed by the juice. I’d never realized how a flavorful juice can be such a force in a cobbler; before, it just seemed like a by-product of the water and sugar in the fruit. But here, the flavors of the rhubarb, cherries, and ginger truly mingled in it and added to the flavor of the whole. I also liked that there was just enough cornstarch to thicken it a little, but leave it thin enough to remind you that it’s made of juice, and it’s not a gratuitous syrup, glaze, or binder.

Next time, though, I may decrease the ginger a little bit or use a different kind. I used an organic Ginger from Whole Foods that seemed stronger than normal.

I used equal parts of each cherry that I had, which added a subtle variation in texture within the cherries, even if their flavors mingled. I also fell in love with the cherry pitter I got in Sonoma. It gets through cherries fast, and with minimal loss of flesh.

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I wanted to try out my new spices that I purchased when I was in Napa last week, so I substituted the ginger in the biscuit with the Chinese Tunghing Cassia Cinnamon, along with a pinch of the ground mahleb. I was going to use 1/8 tsp of the mahleb, but a little taste test proved that it’s very bitter… and I wanted to add it as a minor note, so eaters would ask “What is that bitterness?” rather than “What is that bitterness?” The cinnamon and mahleb were subtle, but added a bit of complexity of their own.

My biscuit dough was a little moist, but it was made in a too-small mini-prep, which I can only praise for not breaking while being over-loaded. The biscuits baked up very nicely regardless — light and satisfying.

Also, I baked it in my treasured Emily Henry 9″ Pie Dish, instead of the 8″x8″ pan prescribed. It has almost the same volume, but I decreased the baking temp 25F to compensate for the ceramic.

I topped it with a scoop of Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Ice Cream adapted from David Lebovitz‘s The Perfect Scoop. I love the contrast of cold melting vanilla ice cream with warm sweet fruit and biscuits. As opposed to French custard-style ice creams made with egg yolks, Philadelphia-Style ice cream only uses milk and cream. I find that it has a purer flavor — without the accent of eggs. Custard-style ice cream might be a little silkier, but if you add just a little bit of salt and alcohol, I find that Philly-style melts quite nicely. Lebovitz prescribes vanilla extract in addition to the vanilla bean, but I figured that there would be enough flavor in the vanilla bean and just added vodka as the alcohol.

Also, I had 1 stalk of rhubarb leftover, so I made the Rhubarb Confit from the French Laundry Cookbook, halving the recipe. Just water, sugar, and rhubarb. Even the rhubarb trimmings are used to infuse the syrup. It’s supposed to be good for a week, so I’ll probably have it with yogurt for breakfasts.

I also had a pound of cherries left, so after looking into the Chez Panisse Desserts cookbook, I cooked the cherries in a little water, added sugar, and chilled it. Tomorrow, I’ll taste it, and maybe add a little kirsch and/or balsamic vinegar to punch up the flavor before spinning it into sorbet.

If I were really an all-star, I’d make a pie crust in my pie dish this week, and keep it wrapped and frozen for serendipitous pie-making on market day in the future… but those 7-10 sorbets and ice creams already have priority… and I may be developing a serious taste for cobbler…