It's been a very unusual week or so at the dinner table. James has eaten dinner out three nights in a row. I'm not sure we've eaten dinner out much more than 3 nights in the rest of the year and here it is, all stacked up. Saturday we popped over to some friends' house for carry out treats from the new Oaks Gourmet Market -- the mushroom ravioli was surprisingly good. Sunday we went around the corner with our dear friend Shelly to Little Dom's -- an homage to red sauced Italo-American neighborhood haunts from the outer boroughs. Totally inauthentic and yet not without it's charms. Monday, work ran a little late and James and our friend Eric made a run for his favorite fries (except for mine of course -- well maybe not except :-)) at The Oinkster.
In spite of the professional competition I had to make a contribution.
Saturday I made my usual trip to the Silverlake farmer's market. Instead of his weekend croissant I spied the cutest little apple hand pies at the LA Bread booth and brought a few home. I really like LA Bread's baguettes and for a while their croissants were our favorite by far, but lately (seems like since the LA Bread freezer went on the blink) they just haven't been as flaky . . . so I've been looking for other weekend treats.
When I saw that hand pie I remembered dried apricot fried pies I used to make and a bowl of ready to be pie stone fruit in the fridge. So with the ready excuse of taking dessert to our friends' house I went home to research and experiment. I went for a soft sour cream pastry dough that I thought would fold nicely around the fruit filling, chopped the fruit way smaller than I ever do for a pie, folded in sugar and spices and spent the afternoon rolling, chilling, filling, chilling again, and baking.
The result -- sweet and flaky, but not a full dessert. Maybe a snack or a breakfast treat. What these needed to go from homemade pop-tart to dessert was an interesting sauce -- not cloying or just sweet and creamy but with a hint of flavor to bring out the best in the fruit. And so was born, Basil Crème Anglais. Instead of vanilla I steeped the 2 cups of cream with a few sprigs of fresh basil from our garden.
The added in a bit (maybe 1/4 cup) of basil lemon sugar with slight half 1/2 cup of organic sugar along with the 4 eggs -- make sure to temper the eggs before adding back to the pit with the cream. I cooked the mixture until thick (4-5) minutes, strained and chilled to be ready for dessert. Okay I admit it -- one of our friends actually licked her plate.