(PRiMO Strawberry Ancho Preserves + Giveaway)


I took a deep breath while standing at my kitchen sink this morning after doing the breakfast dishes. One boy ate leftover blue cornmeal pancakes from yesterday morning, and the other several leftover rolled up crêpes spread with an iteration of Megan Gordon's chocolate-hazelnut spread. My timing was on. It was 7:15 and everything was cleaned up.  I had my pre-measured coffee beans in the grinder and ready to brew, 2 hours before I usually even think of making my coffee.  Not taking into account the time needed to dress myself appropriately, I feel like I'm getting this.  My new life is about to start and I have one last week of daily homelife to myself before embarking on this new adventure, new chapter in my life.  Before it all begins for real.

As this space where I collect my kitchen life felt slowly more and more neglected, I have found all the words pouring around in my head.  A food blog is no place to recount the details of broken hearts, and lives forever and irrevocably changed.  Or maybe it is.  The truth of it all is that the broken bits of my life that have suddenly arranged themselves into a brand new pattern, one I probably would have never put together myself, but also intricate enough that I know the Almighty power behind it all: the One pushing me out and into a place that might feel foreign and uncomfortable.  A brand new normal with all of the knowledge of the past decade to back me up.

I hesitate to go into detail. Every relationship that comes to an end has moving pieces and two sides to the story. But my conscious is clean. It's the only path through that I could see. For the immediate time being, I'll move through life once again a single person - albeit one with two boys in tow. The inner workings of a girl who has spent 10 years cultivating a home, growing boys and plants, becoming a preserver, a baker, a writer are tough to separate and sift out. I continue to struggle with the feeling that my life, the essence of my personhood, is changing. I'll no longer measure my days with sourdough feeding and line dried clothes. But the slow timing in so much change has convinced me that it is, after all, only change. I'm going to stand at the helm of my kitchen with less time, but never without homemade bread.  I will still be me, just with a little less time.

Meanwhile, I have been wordless at the outpouring of support from the people in life that have graced me with their friendship. There have been quick notes from those in my tribe, the Internet friends that are real and living and aren't at all hollow and dismissive, and there have been too many coffee beans dropped at my doorstep to count. I am bolstered by support of people who get what it is to be forced into so much change, those who have been through something similar themselves, those whose voices echo that yeah it is hard, but you are able and that trials in life are not purposeless. Those that remind that something good will come again and that it really is an adventure to find out just what that will include.

image from PRiMO

image from PRiMO

I wondered if this was the right post to include my review of PRiMO's new Strawberry Ancho Preserves, and offer up a jar to give away.  I mean really.  Life changing, deep sorrowful stuff, written with total ambiguity?  But it can't be any other way.  Somehow all the little pieces of this gigantic puzzle also include this small company, and their truly homemade jams.  Somehow them sending me a jar in the mail (and they have IMPECCABLE packaging which always makes me smile even wider) for me to give my honest opinion of made me feel validated as a small time food writer and recipe developer. 

This jar was bright and warm, not spicy really - but like the blend of chiles only added to the "strawberryness" of the strawberry.  I originally thought that I'd come up with something complicated to showcase it, a mole maybe or a marinade for meat.  But then I realized that complicated is just not what I do anymore.  I make scones instead of croissants and other laminated doughs. I make a big pot of dal and we eat it for days in a row instead of cooking every night. And this special jar of jam fit right in with the timing of my life which I am ever so mindful of right now. It is perfectly enjoyable on a spoon, in plain yogurt, on toast. It complements all the most comforting things, because after all it is strawberry jam and strawberry jam is king of the jams. And royal jam is meant to be eaten so that you can really taste it.

strawberry-ancho ricotta

Crêpes might seem like a luxury, but they don't actually take too much time - especially if you mix the blender batter in the evening and let it laze about in your refrigerator for a couple of days.  They actually only improve with time. When you get to making the actual crêpes, layer them on a large dinner plate with a square of waxed paper between each and let them cool completely before stashing them in the fridge. Covered well with plastic wrap, you can get another 2-3 days storage out of them.  Don't worry if you need a bit of practice to get nice, round crêpes, all of your practice is edible.

Crêpes with Strawberry-Ancho Ricotta

for the crêpe batter (Alton Brown's is best in my book):

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 c. ap flour
  • 3 T. melted butter
  • 1 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend well.  Transfer to a wide mouth canning jar and let rest at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours.  (Stir gently to recombine if resting for a long time.) Cook the crêpes using a scant 1/4 cup batter in a nonstick skillet, using a brush of butter after each one. (If you want to use them for savory purposes, omit the granulated sugar and vanilla.)

Strawberry-Ancho Ricotta

Mix 2 parts premium ricotta cheese (homemade ricotta would also be stellar) to 1 part PRiMO Strawberry Ancho Preserves in a bowl. (6 T. ricotta and 3 T. preserves makes enough to fill at least 6 crêpes.)

Spread the preserves/ricotta mixture evenly on a crêpe and fold in half and in half again. Melt a little butter in a skillet and gently fry them on both sides until browned and crispy around the edges. Dust with powdered sugar and do eat with mint leaves if you have some growing as I did.

crêpes with PRiMO

The generous folks at PRiMO have offered up a jar of this new release Strawberry Ancho to one lucky reader! Please comment on this post with a simple but favorite food that brings you comfort and inspiration before midnight next Friday (May 6th, 2016) and you might find a jar in your mailbox shortly thereafter. You may also decide, and rightly so, that you can't wait for all of that and find your new favorite strawberry jam at PRiMO's website.  I'll number the comments and select the winner at random.  (Please be sure to shoot me an email from the contact tab at left if your comment isn't attached to an email/blog/way to get in touch with you.)

I've spent the past month gearing up for my new job, outside of the home, out in the big world that lies past the threshold of my own kingdom. It's been a good run. I'll look back on my 30's at home with general good thought and pride in my independent work. I'll remember all of the lessons learned and remember there are still more to come. When I prepare for the workdays ahead, I page through some of my most favorite simple food books, Peter Miller talking about collaborative lunches at his bookshop, Cal Peternell's chapter on toast, and Tamar Adler's making the most of boiling pot of water and I know life doesn't end with work outside the home no matter how scared I am of that. It's just another chapter in my own running story, one that's still developing and "fast breaking". And that chapter includes a ton of simple food and the pleasures found therein.

Is there room for preserves?  Most definitely. Certainly, there is ample room to purchase a few jars this year as well, and from a small producer like PRiMO, I'll almost consider them my own.



Disclosure: PRiMO did send me a jar of their preserves for review, but as always my thoughts and opinions are fully my own.


PRiMO Giveaway!

I know if you are a regular reader you might feel I've abandoned you...  Really, I think about what I would write every day.  Every time I'm stirring a pot of something, or wiping off the dining room table for the 10th time in a day, when I'm so excited about learning about Hannibal and the Punic Wars that we scratch the rest of the afternoon to make rough puff pastry and bake up baby elephant ears.  (I even took pictures of that, thinking I might get to setting pen to paper about it!) Time elapses and I don't need to make excuses for it. I have taken to embracing that I'm wrapped up in the hug of a two-year-old, or busy diagramming sentences and reading about Hannibal. The food world will still be there when these boys have all of a sudden grown into men and I wonder where the days of hectic life went.  Those days I try not to daydream of, when my small house is trashed with stuffed animals and legos and it's 4 o'clock and I haven't thought about what supper will emerge from my hands.

The folks at PRiMO preserves reached out to me again this fall and asked if I'd like to host a giveaway of one of their beautifully packaged gift boxes. I felt really guilty because I really love their preserves and felt like their preserves deserved a more prominent place in the food blog world than on my all but neglected site.  My metrics are a sorry state since I've taken to one post a month, and as far as "career" bloggers go, I am just plain terrible at updating social media.  Even so, I am so flattered that they like my little corner of the Internet, and I'm pledging my best to get the word out about their line of preserves.  

thanksgiving cheese plate w/ PRiMO

I hesitate, and rightfully so, to describe their preserves as "product".  They aren't a product but rather something so homemade that you can be proud to have it sent out as a gift, or even to enhance your entertaining at this end of the year time.  I opened my gift set at Thanksgiving when I hosted my parents and we all agreed that these little jars taste like we made them ourselves.  That might be another reason why PRiMO appeals to me so much: from a DIY standpoint, their entire line not only tastes like you made it, but is packaged so well you can go on reusing the heavy glass jars for just about ever.  And don't get me started on the box it's packed in.  As a quality design fanatic, it's just plain nice to have something that feels so good in the hands... and can be repacked and sent on for a new life with someone else instead of sheepishly getting chucked into the recycle bin...

image from PRiMO

image from PRiMO

So I'll keep the rules simple: just leave a comment on this post before midnight on December 10th (that's next Thursday) and I'll assign a number to each commenter in the order they appear and select a winner at random.  You'll receive a gift box of 4 jars of PRiMO's signature preserves, one jar each of limited release Holiday Pumpkin Spread, Spiced Cherry Preserves, Berry Pasilla Preserves and Raspberry Habanero Preserves. You can read more about PRiMO and their preserves line on their website. I know you'll enjoy all of the flavors for yourself, but it would also make the best host/hostess gift or "secret Santa" type gift.  You could also separate the jars, I'd imagine one would fit nicely in the foot of a stocking!

I hope you are happy happy during this Christmas season, even in spite of all the terrible news accosting us every single day.  Even in the midst of that I think it's more important to concentrate on what good things come each day, what blessings we have to be thankful for.  Sweet things that come in the mail, and genuine artists that create!

It's Giveaway Time!

Review: Primo Preserves & Tapenade.

Earlier this summer, I was invited to try some handmade preserves from PRiMO.  I received the jars, and a charming handwritten note from the owner, and popped them into my china cupboard: excited to try them but waiting for just the right moment of inspiration to hit.


Days passed, I admired the jars.  I started the beginning of my own summer preserving, and tried to keep up with two active brothers who want nothing more than to be outdoors.  Last week, I had a bit of a break when my 9-year-old was away spending a week in the country with my Mom and Dad.  I have come to the conclusion that it is exhausting being interested in food when you have a picky eater.  I had 6 days where I didn't have to worry one bit about what we were going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it was the best gift anyone could give me.  We ate leftovers and had a rare dinner out, and I put it on the top of my list to make these jars (or part of these jars anyway) into something special to showcase them. 

PRiMO is a small company in Denver, CO - and what first struck me was just how personable their PR person was.  It seems the whole company is just as down to Earth - and when I tasted their food, I could see why.  It's just like homemade, only with the convenience of not making it yourself.  I have to admit, when I was contacted I wondered why a specialty food company would want my meager opinion of their preserves!  I rarely purchase any jarred foods at all!  But with a single taste of the Raspberry-Habanero preserves, I knew why.  It's just really that good, and it tasted like I made it myself.  Anything sweet and spicy is right up my alley (remember my obsessions with Strawberry-Guajillo Jam and Candied Jalapenos?), and these were no exception.  But as a time-saver, a gift to mail-order, or just a special indulgence, I can absolutely recommend trying out the PRiMO line of preserves and tapenades.

Primo Raspberry Habanero Preserves.

I decided to make a jam tart with the spicy raspberry preserves, like the pasta frolla based crostata I had made for a Daring Baker challenge 5 years ago.  (5 years!  Really?) When I cracked the jar to taste them, they were spicier than I thought (and I'm not complaining), so I quickly decided to alter the crostata to a cream cheese tart.  I briefly par-baked the pasta frolla dough in small tart shells and then filled and finished baking them.  I think they were a success - though I preferred them fresh from the oven than when they had aged in the fridge for a day or two... 

The pasta frolla dough really tastes very similar to a shortbread.  Any tart crust you like could easily stand in for it.  Should you make the pasta frolla, be sure to save the scraps and re-roll them into cookies (dock them with a fork first).  I baked a small dozen at the same time as the tarts, and enjoyed them alongside the morning coffee.

Raspberry-Habanero Cream Cheese Tarts

(4 4 1/2 inch tarts)

Pasta Frolla: (Simona at briciole)

  • 1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon (100 g, 3 ½ oz) superfine sugar (I pulsed a half a dried vanilla bean with granulated sugar in the food pro)
  • 1 3/4 cup (235 g, 8 1/4 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • a heavy pinch of salt
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 8 T. (4 oz. / 115 g) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Pulse the sugar, flour, salt, and zest in a food processor until combined.   Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal.  Empty to a large bowl and form a "well" in the top.  (Basically, like how you would go about making homemade pasta.)  Add the eggs into the center and beat them with a fork, incorporating flour from around the edges until it gets too difficult to use the fork.  Switch to your hands, and gently knead the dough until it comes together into a ball.  Form the ball into a disc and wrap in cling film.  Let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To parbake, preheat oven 400.  Roll the dough on a very lightly floured counter (or between plastic wrap or parchment) to about 1/8 inch thickness.  Drape onto the tart tins and reposition the dough so that it isn't stretching but fully covers the bottom and sides.  Press your fingers or the rolling pin across the top of the tins to remove the additional dough.  (Save the scraps to re-roll for cookies, or to add decoration to the tops of the tarts prior to baking.) Place the tart shells on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until just barely browned.

  • 4 par-baked tart shells, bake them just long enough to set them and very lightly brown - recipe follows
  • 4 oz. (113g.) room temperature cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. (100 g.) PRiMO Raspberry Habanero Preserves

After par-baking the tart shells, reduce the oven heat to 350.

Mix the cream cheese in a mediums sized bowl with a hand mixer until well blended.  Add the eggs, and mix well, then fold in the preserves by hand using a spatula.  Portion the mixture into the prebaked tart shells (bake any extra filling in a small ramekin alongside the tarts) and return to the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is slightly puffed around the edges and set in the center.  

raspberry habanero cream cheese tarts.

I liked these best when they had barely cooled to room temperature, but they were still good when chilled overnight.

For the tapenade, I decided to find some nice looking fish and bake it in parchment.  One of my favorite, quick "go-to" recipes is some kind of white fish baked with olives, tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, fresh herbs, and olive oil - I think it was something I read in Gourmet years and years ago. If you are nervous of cooking fish (and I usually am, since I don't cook it as much as I like), put it in parchment and into a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes and it's perfect every time.  Using a pre-made tapenade like this one, with just a hint of spice, makes it all the easier.

Primo Chipotle Tapenade fish

You don't really need amounts for this recipe, just top fish fillets with ingredients in the proportion you like.  I'll estimate my amounts for the super intrepid...

Trout with Chipotle Tapenade, Tomatoes, & Sweet Peppers

3 servings

  • 3 fish fillets, I used lake trout, but any white fish will do
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 sweet Italian red peppers, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
  • 2-3 T. PRiMO Spicy Chipotle Tapenade
  • drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper
  • parchment paper

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut large sheets of parchment, and fold them in half (they should be large enough to encase the fillets with 1 inch to spare all the way around after they're folded), and cut them into hearts the way you used to make valentines in the 2nd grade (here's a good tutorial, and I swear, I thought about 2nd grade valentines before watching it!).  Arrange a fillet on each, and top with tomato, peppers, and the tapenade.  Fold the packet starting at the bottom edge and creasing incrementally on the way up around to the top.  Place packets on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

fish in parchment

Alongside, I made one of the recipes from Maria Speck's excellent new book Simply Ancient Grains.  I have quite a lot of rainbow chard growing, and made just a half recipe of the saffron scented yogurt to top the bulgur salad she includes.  Our plates seemed so full, but the food wasn't heavy at all and best of all it was ready in a very short amount of time.

It was nice having some free time to get some projects out of the way - and this project of tasting and reviewing was definitely a highlight.  If you find yourself short on time, or just in need of a hostess (or personal) gift, look for PRiMO's line of handmade foodstuffs.   I thoroughly enjoyed them!

Disclosure:  PRiMO sent me the preserves and tapanade to try at no cost, but as always my honest thoughts and opinions are my own.

It's Called Ground Cherry.

Ground cherries actually are not cherries at all, but members of the nightshade family - closely related to the tomatillo. They are little and wrapped in a dusky paper husk; they are yellow or greenish, juicy and sweet at first but somehow tart and a little bitter at the same time. I have only experimented with them for a couple of years now, preferring them in hot sauces spiked with ample amounts of raw cider vinegar. This season, their paradox of flavor seemed to call me to the sweet side of things. I needed a lift on the wings of a really stellar preserve, and this one fit the bill.

ground cherries, chai spice

I often wonder how information on such singular, seasonal things as ground cherries proliferated prior to the Internet. I checked my first source for all things Jam and Preserves related - in my copy of Linda Ziedrich's Jam book. I googled around for ideas, and settled immediately on an infusion including both orange and chai flavors. As I read and considered, I could already taste the finished jam on my tongue, the breath of Fall in my nose, and the remembrance of all good things that bridge the gap between sweet and savory. Those fickle things most of all remind me of the grey areas in life, where there are no absolutes and hence no mistakes that can be made. Sometimes, I need something that is sweet and bittersweet and bitter and savory all at once, and I need the reminding of the patience to see (and taste) things for what they really are.

preserves set

This jam is soft set and translucent, like setting sun in September. The calender turned the day after this went into jars and on that last day of August, the humidity still lingered in the air, but it felt different, like the flocking geese knew something that I didn't: like Autumn is coming much more quickly this year because the Summer made me so weary that it knows I need a quick change.

For good or bad, when I look back over the season's worth of dates on jars, I feel every pang that went along with it. The taste of sweet-sour ground cherry picked me up and made me feel confident; this is a gem of a preserve, as easy going on a cheese topped cracker as in alongside a fat scoop of whole milk yogurt - or sucked straight off the spoon, trying to identify all of the satisfying flavors that make it up. It's a very small batch, but it will be worth every lingering mouthful.

citrus chai ground cherry preserves

Ordinarily, I prefer the flavor of raw sugar in preserves because the caramelly depth is usually more interesting. I chose to use the more refined white sugar in this because I wanted to be able to keep the integrity of the citrus flavors, and highlight the tea (which I also feared was so old that it may have dulled with age). I also brought the jam up to a boil, dissolved the sugar, and then let it sit at room temperature for about 16 hours. In part because I got busy, but also partly intentionally. It then took virtually no time to bring it up to jamming stage.

Citrus Chai Ground Cherry Preserves
(inspired by Linda Ziedrich, Cheese and Champagne, and Kitchen Therapy - also a nod to the Hip Girl Kate)
(my yield was 2 half pints and 1 quarter pint, and just enough run-over to enjoy now)
  • 5 pints ground cherries (1 lb. 9 oz.)
  • juice of 1 lemon, zest of half of the same lemon
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 heavy T. of chai tea (I would have liked a premium Rishi chai here, but settled for the year-old Frontier bulk tea I had in the cupboard)
  • 2 c. sugar
Combine everything in a heavy preserving pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir to make sure the sugar dissolves, then turn off the heat, put the lid on and let the pot sit at room temp overnight. (You can refrigerate if room temperature makes you nervous.)

The next day, ready some jars, lids and the like, and bring the jam up to a rapid boil. Stir constantly until desired consistency is reached, and jam gels when placed on a chilled plate. I mashed about half of the ground cherries with a potato masher when they were maybe halfway to the gel point, you can mash more or less or not at all if you prefer. (As I boiled and tasted, I also added a 1/4 t. of ground ginger, since the ginger component of the chai I used was lacking and missed.)

Ladle the preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, and process 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

citrus chai ground cherry preserves

Sometimes, things that aren't what they seem present new challenges. Sometimes challenges wear you out like a too-hot Summer. But also sometimes, they can turn a silver lining, and become something more wonderful than you can imagine. Ground cherries certainly have a sweet side, and when full of warm chai flavor, they comfort. Lemon and orange lift, the seeds are interesting and break up the monotony of a otherwise transparent gel. When I pluck a jar from the shelf in a few months, when the cold surrounds me and the trials of August and September have passed, I will be thankful for these facts: that things by other names can be loved the same if given the time, patience and grace to do so, and that sweet sour preserves are welcome on any table.

citrus chai ground cherry preserves

The story of Gâteau Basque, time alone, and friends to share it with.


This whole week I've spent nearly alone, my kiddo having stayed behind with his Nana and Papa for his first extended Summer sleep-away. I pulled out of the driveway last Monday feeling strangely solitary, and surrounded in my car by overwhelming silence. Until I am separated from my child, I don't realize how much the boy talks. I am told that this is repayment from my own childhood, when I would talk for hours on end. One famous story told by my Gram and retold for years to come by my Mom reminds me that I had gone to stay with her and in a long car ride I was talking non-stop. When sudden silence hit, she turned around to see why I had stopped talking and found I had fallen asleep mid-sentence...

I will admit that the quietness of my house is good for me once in a while. It was only periodically interrupted by long talks with my Husband, which felt good and strangely adult. With no schedule to keep I felt like I was on vacation. Really my home is like a vacation to me; most of the time there is nowhere else I'd rather be.

Amidst the organizing and some deep cleaning, a shift worked at the cafe and gentle, simple dinners, my new boss/friend and I decided that my being childless was a good excuse to have a collaborative dinner. She was bringing some pork that she had butchered in a class and had stashed in her freezer, and I was in charge of bread, dessert, and veggies. Her sister (/co-worker/neighbor) and I all sat together on the patio last night after our delicious dinner trying to pronounce "gâteau", which I thought ended up sounding more like the Spanish "gato".

But, the pronunciation doesn't matter much with this homey, easy dessert. Filled with last years tart cherry jam, I felt relieved that I had gone with a Dorie Greenspan recipe when trying to impress a chef-friend. It bears mentioning that any recipe Dorie Greenspan has ever written will turn out for me on the first try, no questions asked, making her one of my secret weapons when I am trying to make an impression. Gâteau is exactly the thing to make for simple dinner parties. It is lovely and French, it can be filled with whatever preserve on your shelf you need to show off or use up, and it isn't so big that you find yourself with enormous amounts of leftovers to contend with. It could be my new favorite dessert.


Truth told, I am insanely insecure about cooking and entertaining for others, even more so when one guest is a professional. I re-washed all my silverware and towel dried the spots off of them, I re-folded all of the mismatched napkins to approximate the same size, I baked the gâteau at the last moment - when it had enough time to cool to room temperature, but not enough time to be called "old". The batter, which is really more of a dough or a cross between a batter and a dough, is rolled out into circles between plastic wrap, and then chilled for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Baking time is just over 45 minutes, allowing one to get herself cleaned up and presentable for company. Like I said, the perfect dessert for easy entertaining.

Gâteau Basque (Dorie Greenspan, Around my French Table)
makes one 7 or 8-inch cake, 8 servings
  • 2 c. ap flour
  • 3/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 10 T. butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature (I soaked a cold egg in hot water for 10 minutes)
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. cherry jam or other thick preserves
  • 1 egg, for eggwash

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the butter with both sugars for 3 minutes, or until the butter is smooth and the sugar has started to dissolve. Add the egg, and beat for 2 more minutes. Scrape down the sides at least once, and the batter may look curdled, but this is normal. Reduce the speed to low, add the vanilla extract, and then add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 additions, beating only until they are fully incorporated.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions (yes, I weighed them), and form each into a circular disk. Working with one at a time, roll the dough out into a circle between two sheets of plastic wrap. Be sure that the circles will fit into your pan. I used my 7 inch springform pan, and used the base as a measure. Still in the plastic wrap, stack the disks on a flat plate and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously butter your baking pan (I used salted butter for this, just because). Remove the disks from the fridge, and let them sit for a few minutes at room temperature before peeling back the plastic wrap. Fit one disk into the prepared pan, and spoon the jam evenly on it, leaving a 1 inch border. Moisten the border with water, and place the other disk on top. Press gently, trying not to let too much jam escape the sides. Some jam will escape anyway - and this is okay.

Make an eggwash by beating an egg with a splash of water and brushing it over the top. (Reserve the beaten egg for tomorrow's breakfast.) Make an even crosshatch pattern with the tines of a fork, and the bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 45 minutes or so until the top is golden brown.

Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife between the cake and the pan to loosen it, and then unmold it. Let it cool, right side up, to room temperature, then cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream. (I like this one, because it is Jeni's Splendid.)

(Update: I tried this cold out of the fridge the next day and didn't like the texture nearly as well. It still tasted good, but tasted more like dense pie crust. I left the last bit out overnight, covered well with a glass dome, and then tried it the next morning. It was much tastier, more like a tender pastry. If you want to store it for a couple of days, I'd recommend putting it in the fridge, but then allow enough time for slices to come back to room temperature before eating.)


What seems like a long time ago, I found packets of French baking powder in an Asian grocery that I bought because I loved the packaging. They were sold in cellophane, maybe 6 packets to the pouch. I couldn't wait to get home and Google to find out about it. What I remember is that it is single-action baking powder, powder that activates immediately when it hits liquid and not again when it hits the oven heat. I recall that it was recommended to be used in gâteau, though I'm not certain how it would fare with a long refrigeration time. I may try it sometime, I still have the pale pink packets in my baking pantry. They still make me happy when I see them in there.


So my vacation week is ended, my kiddo is on his way home, and I have just a few hours more of a quiet home. I am looking forward to hearing about all of his adventures away (especially because my Mom told me that he was eating all kinds of new foods this week), and I look forward to having my little family all together once again. I have a few pieces of gâteau left for everyone to taste after dinner tonight, and I will see how long the pretty little cake remains tasty.