At the end of the day
And soft on my shoulder
Where your head gently lays
Still with me now when I think
How I loved you so
And never through changes
Other people must go
Now people may change
Changes may come
There’s so many changes but I, I, I, I
I love you still
Now I ll, I ll, I ll, I ll, I ll, I ll
I love you still
I lala lala lala
I always will
If they dried up the oceans
And they blot out the sun
And the world was torn into pieces
I know that we`d stay as one
23 years together. Our son rolls his eyes and makes farting noises whenever JP and I go all romantic and start talking about love, but so be it. One day he’ll understand. We celebrated 23 years of marriage, 23 years of being together, this summer and what a ride it has been. Not always easy, sometimes downright bumpy, more like a rollercoaster ride, truth be told, a ride often leaving us breathless, hearts pounding, amazed that we have survived the ups and the downs, survived every thrilling spin, every crazy loop-de-loop, every dizzying drop when the earth is pulled out from under our feet, each summit of utter bliss when we feel like we can see forever. We’ve experienced births and deaths, attended weddings and funerals, seen wonders and marvels, the hackneyed the commonplace and the downright boring. But we are together still and getting loonier, sillier and more romantic as the years fly by. We’ve created a world for two where we are King and Queen, surrounded by our little princes, an island paradise of warm breezes and sunny skies, of good food and good books, and here we are still, rather pleased to be stuck together on this island of calm in the often rough sea of life.
Friday evening we decided to have dinner at our favorite pizzeria. Once we had reserved our table, we found ourselves with enough time to swing by the fête foraine, the carnival, just up the street. Hand in hand, we strolled through, dodging children, listening in on conversations, watching the teens standing below the most daredevil of rides and screaming up at their friends who had the guts to strap themselves aboard and get themselves flung up into the air. We breathed in the wonderful carnival odors of hot popcorn, sizzling sausages and sweet cotton candy, the colors and lights and sounds making us feel like kids again. I begged JP to win a stuffed animal for me never believing that he would actually play along, but play along he did. Much to my utter surprise, he walked straight up to one stand, handed over a five-euro bill and grabbed a bow – five arrows, three in the bull’s eye and he’d win a stuffed animal! Well, no need to say that I walked away empty handed, but thrilled and laughing that he actually hit the bull’s eye once and the red ring just outside it twice. That’s my guy! Hadn’t picked up a bow and arrow for years and years! Yet caught up in the moment, he gleefully played the gallant and we walked away giggling like giddy teens.
Sunday morning we were two little piggies who went to market, basket on his arm, and picked up what he needed to whip together a succulent beef and mushroom stew and freshly-shelled white beans with garlic and parsley. I love a man in an apron and mine stood at the stove all morning, chopping, stirring, simmering. A chilled bottle of Quincy completed the lunch and, satisfied and happy, we lazed around the rest of the day watching tv and catching up on this and that, all the little things we do on weekends. Three future architects in front of three computer screens spent all weekend hard at work down in the last bedroom, at least two of whom gleefully accepted macarons (the third grudgingly) and slices of plum cake, glad to help out this baker with too many home-baked goodies on her hands and not enough hungry mouths.
Autumn is here and the market stalls are overflowing with gorgeous, fragrant plums: mirabelles and Reine Claudes (greengages), quetshes (damson, prune plum) and the tinier prune d’ente, a lovely pale red oval plum. The peaches and nectarines are still sweet and juicy, but the plums have been calling my name, begging for attention, practically throwing themselves in my path, crawling their way towards my basket, just waiting to be baked in a pie. Since my man prefers his sweets with breakfast, dunked in a hot cup of coffee, or in the afternoon with a cold glass of milk, and since my man prefers something just a tad less sugary allowing for the flavor, the sweetness of the fruit to shine through, I came up with this Plum Cake. Somewhere between a cake and a brioche, the yeast base is barely sweet, delicate and light as air, the perfect foil to highlight this wonderful fruit. As light as it is, this cake, whether prepared thick and tall using a whole recipe of dough or thin, using half a recipe, it is most definitely better eaten warm out of the oven while still fresh. And although some found it a tad dry the second day, I still thought it was perfect! So did the three young men. And we gobbled it up. And begged for more.
I am sending this over to be Yeastspotted by Susan of Wild Yeast, the Queen of all things yeast!
PLUM BRIOCHE CAKE
Gâteau de Quetsches
2 Tbs warm milk
0.21 oz - about 2 ¼ tsp (6 g) active dry yeast
2 Tbs (30 g) granulated sugar
2 cups (250 g) flour + more for kneading
1 tsp salt
7 Tbs (100 g) unsalted butter very, very soft
3 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla
14 oz (400 g) quetsches (oval purple plums)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
Warm the milk for 5 to 10 seconds in the microwave. Pour the warm milk over the active dry yeast and ½ teaspoon of the sugar, which have been put together into a small bowl. Allow to proof, about 15 minutes, until there is a fairly thick head of foam.
Place the flour, the rest of the sugar and the salt in a large mixing bowl; stir to blend. Add the soft butter in cubes. When the yeast is proofed, pour it over the flour/butter in the bowl. Whisk the eggs until blended, add the vanilla and add this to the mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the dry until all of the dry has been moistened and then begin to stir vigorously until all of the butter has been well blended into the batter and no large chunks remain. You will have a very thick, very wet batter-like dough.
Generously flour a work surface and scrape the dough out onto the surface. With the help of a dough scraper, begin folding and kneading the dough, adding more flour as you work and scraping up the dough off of the table, and knead until you have a soft, silky smooth homogenous dough, adding only enough flour as needed to hold it together into a smooth dough. Knead for 6 to 10 minutes. All of the butter will have been incorporated.
Lightly grease a clean, medium-sized mixing bowl. Place the ball of dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the grease. Cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and then a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. It will almost be doubled.
Remove from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap (allowing enough plastic for the dough to rise and not burst out of the seams of the wrap!) and allow to rest and continue to rise in the refrigerator for 1 more hour.
Meanwhile, wash and dry the plums. Slice each plum in half lengthwise, remove and discard the pits and place the halves in a bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar. Toss the plums occasionally while waiting for the dough; this will toss and coat the fruit in the melted vanilla sugar.
Butter the bottom and sides of a regular 10-inch (26-cm) pie plate.
After one hour, remove the dough from the fridge, take out of the plastic and place on a floured work surface. If you want a thinner brioche layer simply cut into two even pieces, wrap up one half and store in the refrigerator (to use within a day or two) or the freezer. Roll out the dough into a circle just slightly larger than the circumference of your pie plate. Gently lift the dough and place it in the buttered pie plate and pat it out evenly, pressing up a slight edge all around the outside. Brush the entire surface and edges with the beaten egg. Place plum halves, cut side up, in a rosace design all around to cover the surface of the dough, snuggling them closely together, leaving the edge free. Once they are all well placed on the dough, gently press the plums down into the dough a bit. Cover the cake loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise yet again for another hour.
At the end of the hour, preheat the oven to 410°F (210°C). Remove the plastic wrap and bake the plum cake for 25 – 30 minutes if using only half of the dough, 30 – 40 minutes if using all of the dough. Keep careful watch and remove when the cake is puffed up and the dough around the edge and between the plums is a deep golden brown and the bottom of the cake is golden evenly across.
It is better to slightly undercook this cake rather than risk overbaking – it is a very light dough, less moist and dense than a brioche, so there is always the risking of drying out if overbaked.
This is a wonderfully light, delicate cake topped with sweet, tangy plums, perfect for a snack, breakfast or brunch. Best served warm although it is also great the next day for breakfast with coffee or tea, milk or yogurt.