Have you noticed how when you live in a city you never end up seeing the touristy things because well, you LIVE there so why tour around our own city, right? I find the same to be true with having a mom who can cook really well, a tailor that hems pants just right, and a trusty mechanic that never cheats you and just changes the oil without adding extra stuff on at the end. Why learn/deal with/bother with things that other people are better at? Well, because they might not always be there, and it's fun to learn how to do things for yourself. It's even MORE fun when you learn them from an expert.
That was all very convoluted.
Today's TANTALIZE was baking some of my favorite pastries with my ninety (more than ninety??) year old Gram at her house this morning/afternoon. I guess what I was trying to get at was that for almost 30 years I've never bothered to learn because, well, she's the expert. But what an awesome chance to spend a lot of time one-on-one with my Gram, learning how to make this pastry from scratch (dough and all). I walked in, she handed me a sassy apron, and we got going, no recipe to read from (of course). We made five loaves in total, and I got to "do" everything on the last roll. I'd watch four times, and then try once. Getting to feel the dough and measure steps along the way.
It was obvious which lump of dough was mine, I couldn't get it into a perfect little ball to roll it out like she did...she showed me the trick again, making my left hand into a cup shape and then pressing the dough away from me with my right as it got rolled around in the flour. And everyone that says exact measurements in baking matter, I call bullshit. Maybe it's true for people under the age of 90, but once you reach 90 it doesn't really matter if the cups of flour are perfect, a pinch of salt is actually a pinch, and you add enough seltzer to the batter "until it looks right and you'll just know". How do you know how much to roll it out so that it's the same length as the pan? "You'll just know." You'll just know indeed. When you're 90. I guess I should start practicing.
Even though my roll-up started to come apart a little in the oven (thanks, roll-up, I thought you were on my side. Way to throw me under the bus...), my Gram said that I did a great job and it's not a perfect shape but damn, does it taste good. I've also never had them straight out of the oven before. Usually they're at least a day or two old and the texture it totally different.
|walnut, cocoa, and poppy filling. egg yolks into the dry ingredients.|
|"pricking" the dough to insure proper cooking|
|Gram is quite popular and fielded several phone calls during the process|
|my roll-up is in the back. WAY TO OUT MY INEXPERIENCE CRACKED ROLL-UP|
|me and Gram in our sassy aprons|
How did you TANTALIZE today?