I was in solitary last week. They didn’t even let me out for APB. The oven was cold and clean. The eggs piled up, the peaches went unpoached, the blackberries only dreamed of chocolate sorbet.
I wrapped a monster project just in time for my birthday, which we celebrated up in the Anderson Valley, aka the anti-Napa. Sparkling wine and Belgian ale, roadhouse breakfasts and picnic lunches, soaring cliffs and crashing surf, hot tub looking out on Irish Beach. Wrists uncrimped, shoulders unhunched, mind at peace. (OK, 2 out of 3.)
After a weekend in the Mendocino mist, building fires, bundled in fleece, I almost forgot it was high summer back in Yolo. Still tank top and tomato weather. Still time for goat’s milk ice cream with Mike Madison’s melons. Still more squash and fairy tale eggplant, the first okra and figs, the final surge of stone fruit.
Recently in an old French cookbook I saw a recipe for visitandines, so called because they were made by nuns of that order, the Order of the Visitation. The ingredients and ratios are exactly the same as for ingots, but I like the name better. Mystic over mercenary in the pastry pantheon.
Plus I’m reading this racy novel about a modern martyr in New Orleans. She’s left the convent to test her faith, gets swept into a love triangle and a plague. Rats, sex, knives, a bad priest, a good priest, and lots of visitation.
Browned butter is beurre noisette in French, butter the color of hazelnuts, and it’s what makes these so good. The pluot ones are made with actual hazelnuts and the nectarine ones have almonds. And in both, brown rice flour, so’s a certain gluten-free someone can join me for today’s APB.
Make 6-4” cakes
100 g (7 T) butter
115 g (1 cup) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (40 g) flour (I used brown rice flour)
50 g (generous 1/2 cup) nuts, toasted
1/3 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 ripe pluots, nectarines, or other stone fruit, sliced
sugar for sprinkling
Grease and flour 6 3 ½-4” tart or cake pans. Preheat oven to 350.
Melt butter in a saucepan until the milk solids turn brown. Strain through a sieve.
In a food processor, grind powdered sugar, flour, nuts, and salt until fine. Add egg whites and vanilla and pulse just until combined. Add browned butter and pulse until combined.
Divide batter among the pans. Slice the fruit and tuck the slices into the batter in a rose pattern. Sprinkle each with a little sugar.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.