Over a week ago, now, I showed up for work three hours early, mistakingly ready for the opening shift when I was supposed to be peanut butter. No big deal, except that I had arranged to pick up eggs at my little chicken farm on the way home from work--not an option now that that would be nine or so at night. So I decided to continue the pattern and show up there seven hours early. As I pulled into the yard, my egg guy and two of his sons were backing out with a car load of peaches from their orchard--we noticed eachother just short of driving into eachother instead. In the meantime, the senior citizens bus pulled up to pick up the grandmother of the house, blocking the two of us in. Then, out of said bus comes a tiny lady with dyed jet black hair and a persistent desire for peaches. After promising her a box when the bus returned from town later in the afternoon, she finally went back inside, and we could finally leave. But not before my egg guy became my peach guy: he offered me whatever I could pick off the last tree of white peaches, my favorite, and what I had just finished telling him were all gone from my usual peach lady. So there I was, after they had pulled away: climbing a tree in my skirt, reaching for every last peach to fill the box that lay below. It was me versus the bees and worth every minute of ridiculousness, every hour I was early for work. They were simply gorgeous, and the soft scent filled my car as I drove home.
But i didnt do anything with these beauties. Well, I ate them fresh of course, and on my porridge, doused a few in wine and let steep for dessert, froze alot...but didnt do anything, nary a flan or a cobbler to be baked and enjoyed. So tonight, with the last five peaches, white flesh now slightly bruised, I made a crostata--or, rather, attempted to.
You see, I am still learning, but you would think that I would know by now that baking is simply not as interchangeable as cooking; read: oil does not equal butter, and ground almonds are certainly not the same as cornmeal, not in the least. For the first, I did not have enough butter so thought I would compensate with canola oil; read: very wet dough. And the latter, I was craving almonds in a non-cakey, more tart like way, so thought an easy swap would satisfy my nutty desire. Only, almonds and cornmeal (as the recipe I was following called for) are not nearly the same texture; read: very wet dough.
Working the lot into a somewhat manageable blob, I formed what would attempt to be the shell, filled it with the white peaches, folded over the edges, put it in the oven and hoped for the best; came out with the worst. Between the soft dough and juicy peaches, the whole thing looked more like it was melting than baking, and though it bubbled with heat in the center, indicative of a cooked tart, it was still a pale blonde color, not crisp and golden. So what did my brilliant baker self do? Why, raised the rack a shelf or two and turned on the broiler. Three minutes and the crostata was now black and soggy. Great.
So what did my crostata craving self do? Took the tart out of the oven, put the whole thing on a plate with a big glob of whipped cream and grabbed a fork. Sitting, eating what was not carcinogenic of this thing I actually laughed out loud. And I learned a little too.
Thats what its all about