Summer always seems sweetest in its last refrain. Why is that? Clearly, we (or some of us at least) have a tardy appreciation thing going on and August is stuck playing the role of seasonal hard to get. Or perhaps it's just once I find a pace to summer, it's already turning to something else. Something else like fall-on-the-way.
In August, the weather is still balmy but the sun sets a wee bit earlier. Soccer and baseball play-offs begin (unless the Olympics are the only sports you think about lately and why not - they're super!) and the harvest begins flooding the farmer markets. Not harvest like out-of-season berries from out of state (or province) but stuff grown nearby sort of harvest stuff. How to keep up? Bake a little of a lot - which is also my secret to looking busy and interesting: do a little of a lot. It's worked for me for years.
As you can see in this and recent issues of BB, I've given up being too trendy or too seasonal and instead, most issues of BB feature recipes that appeal to me for random reasons. There is no rhyme or reason to my palate or mood other than I find things appeal or seem interesting to create or respin. Nonetheless, it's not all about me for I hope you enjoy my baking journey as well. There but for the grace of reason (versus the grace of my addiction to Downton Abbey), I might have been knee-deep into Apple Charlotte. (Surely some of you see the series and remember that kitchen scene - Apple Charlotte? Heavens.)
What'snotin this month's recipe selection are my many attempts at French croissants - all good, all easy and I so wish you embark on a similar Croissant Adventure of your own. Almost any croissant recipe will do. It really is about the technique. But homemade French croissants are magical.
Shouldyoumake a Blooming Onion? Yes, or at least make it once in your life and BBQ season is a perfect time. But do use salt which Food Network recipe missed (add at least 1/2 teaspoon to the flour part along with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder) and make a few smaller onions instead of one huge one. Smaller onions take the slicing gridlock really well but fry up far better. In this case, size matters but not in a good way, i.e. less is more. A fryer thermometer is also a good idea so do invest and besides which, you will need it for jamming season anyway. Buy an old- fashioned thermometer with mercury in it. It is more reliable that digital stuff and doesn't need batteries and what is more fun on a hot August day that peering at a sweat-and-steam covered thermometer and wondering, did it
reach 400 F yet?
I am wishing you warm tidings for August, and advise you to bake early, bake less, and spend more time swinging and dreaming in that hammock. Marcy Goldman
Author, Master Baker
Free-form puff pastry tarts, also known as open-faced flans or as galettes, are a classic French pastry that bakes up into a buttery-crisp pastry no one can resist. Try and find freestone ripe nectarines for this recipe.
A new ice-cream spot in the city serves Salted Butter Ice-Cream. That's all it took to inspire me to created a one-up recipe - Salted Butter, Salted Caramel Cheesecake. Is this good? Is Sam Elliott masculine?
This is a symphony of great flavours resulting in a café style muffin like no other. It is golden and light of crumb but moist and packed with gourmet taste. You need almond paste but trust me, it’s worth it.
I am totally in love with yeast, especially sweet yeast baking. These amazing buns, enlivened with fresh berries and sweet summer cherries should make you swoon along with me.
Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:
Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.