Saturday, June 30, 2012

6/29/12 - Apricot pie!

Got up and went to yoga class. Man, I love yoga, but I don't think they have AC at The Raven. It was sweaty up in there. And the guy next to me kind of smelled like cat food. Sometimes we have to take the good with the bad, I suppose.

The rest of the day was pretty much about making pie (and ice cream!). The Rebeccas gave me a wealth of apricots, and I've had them ripening in a paper bag on the counter top for a couple of day, but this was the day they were to meet their destiny. First I made the pastry - King Arthur Flour's gluten-free pie crust. While that was chilling in the fridge, I prepped the apricots. My feeling about fruit pies is that I want them to taste like and feel like the actual fruit, not sugar and cornstarch. So I used The Joy of Baking's apricot tart recipe as a guide for the filling, only I used even less sugar. I halved about 15 apricots, sprinkled them with salt, and dusted them with a handful of brown sugar.

The pastry for the pie sure does have to chill for a long time...and I have more apricots...well, the only thing for it is to make some apricot ice cream too. It's kind of absurdly easy. You cut up apricots and cook them in a little water for like 2 minutes (I added half a vanilla bean), then you add sugar, puree the whole shebang, add cream, and put it in the ice cream maker. I used pastry studio's recipe (adapted from David Leibovitz) as a guideline, but instead of a bunch of white sugar, I added a dash of brown sugar and a squirt or 2 of agave syrup. I'm not so much into agave syrup as I am out of regular sugar, but I wanted the sweetness of the apricots to shine through on its own anyhow.

What a gorgeous color!
Mmm...creamy apricot-y goodness...

So the dough was finally ready to work (after a whole hour!), and it behaved pretty well considering its gluten-free-ness. I assembled a pretty nice-lookin' pie if I do say so myself.

Unfortunately, it wasn't time to eat it yet! Alex and I had dinner plans. We ate at Red Hill in Echo Park, which was delish! They have a really interesting eclectic menu - just my jam. We shared a kale salad. I had exquisite blob of burrata with roasted asparagus and beet green pesto, and I scraped the topping off some of Alex's flatbread. There was Spanish chorizo, apple, blue cheese, and some kind of greens involved. Then I watched Alex eat papardelle with pulled pork ragu with some serious gluten envy. I was actually still hungry, so I ordered the venison meatballs with fennel confit and oranges. They were outstanding; spicy and just a little fatty, with the citrus brighten it up. I assumed Alex didn't eat any because he was full, but it turned out he was so distracted talking about the philosophical points of the film he and Jonathan are developing that he just forgot...until I had already eaten it all. Whoops.

We intended to go see the Silverlake Chorus, but we ended up getting in a rather serious discussion that caused us to miss the whole thing. We really should have had pie, but we were (Alex was) too full. It'll keep till morning.  Just before going to sleep, I came across my next culinary project: plum preserves!

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