Monday, 21 December 2009

comfort me with pate feuillete

When it stops raining, it's beautiful out here.

But when it resumes, in this temperate rainforest, the best option is to hunker down and build up a barrier: by blanket, scarf, or butterfat. I thought I wouldn't torture you with more teasers about what you can't have....but I can't get over this puff pastry. I finished the block from the freezer last week, rolling out what was left into a thin sheet and then carefully slicing it into even squares.

I opened a jar of tart cherries that Laila had canned over the summer when working at a farm in New Mexico. I drained the sweetened and subtly spiced juice the cherries had been soaking in, saving it with the idea that I would cook it down into a thick syrup to pour over ice cream or yogurt (a good idea, except when a lively conversation with a visitor about iris bulbs distracts you, and suddenly the syrup is bubbling madly and condensing into something hard and beautiful that resembles a sort of misshapen jolly rancher candy).

Gently, I spooned the fruit in a small mound in a corner of the square piece of dough; next was a light brushing of beaten egg along the seams, and finally, a pressing to acheive a fruit pocket slightly resembling a large, raw, wonton. Turnovers.

The other day I was listening to the radio - something about needle sharing programs - and a man was describing the first moment he shot up. Although his descriptions did not turn me on to intravenous drugs, they did make me think about those happy, sublime moments. Moments that keep you from thinking, sucking you in with pure focus towards either heroin or perfect, flaky pastry baked into a beautifully risen pocket around tangy, brutally delicious cherries.

Biting into these puppies was blindingly addictive - even after three (!) my mouth was watering at the thought of more (although the rest of my body was not quite as eager).

For some reason, the photos do not capture the perfect crispy, flaky, just-out-of-the-oven-and-so-hot-the-cherries-will-burn-your-lips-ness of it all. Here's a nice photo I took in a coffee shop to make up for it.

Again, I apologize. I will do my best to branch out in my eatings from these labor intensive activities. Perhaps I should share more often the dinners in our house that consist solely of eggs (it's wondrous what you can do with them, really). Or the meal I had yesterday of a chunk of raw purple cabbage, some rice candies, and a chunk of yellowing brie. Balance, as they say.

But really, part of the satisfaction does come from knowing that my sister picked, spiced, and canned the cherries; that I had a (small) hand in preparing the pastry; and in the end, that it all came together as a product of personal labor, rather than something bought off the shelf. The turnovers had personality, practically. A roundedness of character, a supple sweetness, and flirty tartness. Warming to the core, as quickly as they came together, they were gone.

1 comment:

  1. A fate worthy of my cherries! They are from Paonia, Colorado though...Too bad turnovers don't travel well