It only took twelve years to admit this but I must say that in spite of the heat and humidity I really love summers here in the South. Yes. I've said it. Love them. You might wonder what else is to summer here that would make me forgive the mosquitoes, head bashing heat and stick-to-your-clothes-like-frosting-on-a-cupcake humidity. Well...Thunderstorms! Rain! Afternoon showers! Tea breaks and evening swims!
It was not until a recent conversation with my parents that I realized what summer here was like versus what I thought it should be: it's like back home. Just a tad stronger. Every afternoon around 4pm the skies darken and the rain slowly moves in. Thunder. Lightning. The skies get a thick cloud cover and the house is nothing but shadows. It reminds me so much of the summer months of my childhood that it makes it bearable.
This weekend was no exception and we gladly took the opportunity to do as much as early as possible and cozy up in the afternoon. That's the thing to do during summers here, start early and keep going until the rain stops you or the craving for a cold drink and a sit down become too strong. We set up on the dining room table and started working on our respective tasks, facing each other. Looking up once in a while. Bouncing ideas off of each other as they came along. Drawing directions and paths to the life we want to live.
We did just that on Saturday in the later part of the afternoon just as the rain was starting to fall against the window and we sat there quietly listening. A new summer ritual. A good cup of French press coffee or a cold glass of milk, a plate of still warm tea cakes or a handful of cookies. I suddenly got a hunkering for the coconut ice cream I had made specially for profiteroles to celebrate our anniversary the next day. Instead of a snack we stayed true to the past 12 years being married and did the opposite of what was planned. We had dessert before dinner.
Toasted coconut ice cream from David Lebovitz via my friend Jen, financiers made with the olallieberry jam that Anita had given me in Boulder, a plate of fresh figs. The first we've had this season.
I like summers here after all...
Olallieberry Jam Financiers:
Note: you can substitute any type of jam for the one I used here. You can also use about 3/4 cup of fresh cut fruit or 3/4 cup fresh berries instead.
1 stick (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (100gr) unsifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup (60gr) ground almonds
1/4 cup (30gr) rice flour
pinch of salt
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup olallieberry jam
Preheat your oven to 375F and position a rack in the center. Lightly butter the inside of 12 financiers molds or muffin tins and place them on a baking sheet. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, melt the butter until it turns to a rich hazelnut brown color. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Strain and reserve.
Mix together the powdered sugar, flour, ground almonds and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the egg whites and mix on low speed until all the ingredients are coming together. Add the brown butter, increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth.
Divide the batter among your molds, drop about 1 to 2 teaspoons of jam in the middles and swirl with the tip of a knife. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Toasted Coconut Ice Cream, adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.
1 cup (230gr) dried shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
1 teaspoon rum
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the coconut on a baking sheet line with parchment paper and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. Keep a close eye on it as it toasts rather fast and goes from perfect to burnt even faster. Remove from the oven when it is golden brown and let cool completely.
In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, warm the milk heavy cream, salt and add the toasted coconut. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Re-heat the cream mixture over medium heat until hot. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Slowly pour the cream mixture over the egg yolks, stirring as you do. Whisk well. Place the mixture back into the saucepan over medium and cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula. Remove from the heat and pour it through fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Press the back of your spoon against the coconut to extract as much liquid and flavor as possible. Add the rum and let cool to room temperature (you can place a piece of plastic wrap and poke holes through it to prevent condensation if you are concerned about leaving things uncovered at your house).
Once cooled, refrigerate the mixture until completely cold (I let mine in the fridge overnight) then freeze in your ice cream machine according to its manufacturer's instructions.
- flower bowl: GreenGate
- cupcake liners and paper straws: Bake It Pretty
- plates: Gleena
- green bottle: Stein Mart
- stamped flatware: Monkeys Always Look on etsy
- linen napkin: Jewelweeds on etsy