Friday, August 19, 2011
Shopping and Baking in Santa Monica
One of the greatest things about summer in LA is the amazing bounty of beautiful fruit and veggies at the Farmer's Markets. And the queen of all markets has to be the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, specifically the Wednesday edition. Living in Hollywood, I rarely get that far west but now that my good friend Sherry Walsh is renting a summer house in Rustic Canyon, I have an excuse to make the trek. The lovely Lady Walsh invited me over on a recent Wednesday morning for some produce shopping followed by a baking lesson led by our friend, Patty Clark, a wonderful caterer visiting from New York.
Walking through the rows of stalls, we sampled stone fruit, melon, berries, figs, tomatoes and finally decided that we would make a Fig Torte and a Peach Crumble. Once we got back to Sherry's house, we layed out our bounty and started slicing peaches. And a perfectly ripe peach is a beautiful thing.
Patty started mixing the crumble toping, a simple combination of flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and cold butter.
Once the texture felt like small pebbles, we sprinkled a handful of the topping on the bottom of a greased baking dish and began layering the peach wedges.
Three peaches was plenty.
On top of this beautiful mound, we sprinkled a mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar and salt and dotted with butter.
We added the remainder of the topping and into the oven it went.
Forty minutes later and voilà. Even though I've been baking since I was a little thing, it still feels like magic to me.
Um, hi! I couldn't help but sneak a bite right out of the dish.
Check back next week for a recipe for a Sweet and Savory Fig Torte and a sneak peek into Sherry's beautiful house in the canyon.
Recipe written by Patricia Clark
2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, cut into pieces, frozen
3 ripe peaches, peeled, pits removed and cut into wedges
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
Make the topping
Combine flour, sugars and salt until well mixed
Gently cut in 4 tbsp frozen butter pieces with fingertips
Sprinkle in 1 1/2 tbsp cold water and combine to a small pebbles texture
Heat oven to 375 degrees
Grease bottom of a pyrex
Sprinkle in a handful of the topping
Layer in the peaches
Sprinkle on the 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and a pinch salt and dot with the remainder of butter
Top with the rest of the topping
Bake for 40 minutes
Serve hot with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!