jen yee pastry


Impromptu Hominess

I had a bunch of sweet red seedless grapes. When I have an overabundance of fruit that I won't be able to use fresh within the next few days, I normally think of sorbet or ice cream. My red grape and balsamic sorbet was a hit with my pan-fried carrot cake last year. This time though, I wanted to do something else. I knew I wanted to do something rustic with them, so I picked 'em, washed 'em, and drizzled them with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled over a handful of raw sugar. Oh, and I stripped a couple of rosemary sprigs into the bowl as well. Staring down at my bowlful of edible shiny marbles, my sideview led me to the wooden baker's table where my star baker had the entire top covered in a huge floury blanket of bubbly ciabatta dough. Pizza wheel in hand, he was ready to slice through the billowy dough to make individual rolls for service.

Forseeing a hot slab of grape-y goodness very near in my future, I excused my reach (and grab) for the wheel and cut off sheet pan sized piece of the dough for my own use. I flopped it onto a tray, brushed off the flour and brushed on some of the sweet oil from the bottom of the bowl of dressed grapes. Like a cat treading its paws on the surface it's about to take a nap on, I kinda did the same to the dough with my fingers, to make the grapes feel a little more comfortable before they go to their final resting place. I tumbled the entire contents of the bowl onto the dough and just pressed the grapes in where they landed. Another sprinkling of raw sugar and a good pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes and into the already hard working oven it went.

Next thing I knew, I had the perfect breakfast in front of me. The ciabatta puffed and colored beautifully. The grapes expanded, then shriveled in the oven, concentrating all the juices in their little skins. I grabbed the pizza wheel again and portioned it up for everyone in the kitchen, but not before I took the best piece for myself, right from the corner. Biting into a grape was like filling your mouth with warm grape jelly!