I have been without my espresso machine twice this summer. The first time it was for two weeks. The machine needed a new solenoid valve which had to be ordered. I was too cheap to have the new valve air-expressed to the repair shop. I will never be too cheap again. I was miserable. I can no longer drink coffee. I attribute that to the high amount of acid that is typically in a drip coffee. During the slow brewing process more of the acidic parts of the coffee bean are released than with an espresso where hot water is quickly forced through a fine grind.
When I bought my Pasquini over four years ago, I was told that it's like an Italian sports car and would need the occasional tune-up. After the repairs earlier this summer, I figured I was good-to-go for at least a couple of years -- not the case. Last week, I again took my Pasquini to the shop. When I turned the machine on, it immediately shut off. After several attempts I gave up, assuming it needed a new switch -- not at all. The repair shop had my machine for over a week, turning it on daily and finding nothing wrong. I brought it back home and hold my breath every morning when I flip the switch. So far all is good, but I have a feeling it's just a matter of time before it's back in the shop.
I made the Peach & Cherry Breakfast Cake to serve this morning alongside my sacred cappuccino!
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for buttering the cake pan
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• Slightly less than 1 cup, plus 2 additional tablespoons, granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Fresh peach slices and halved sweet cherries, approximately 2 cups total
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan. I brushed melted butter over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom and 2-inch sides.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the 6 tablespoons butter with the slightly less than 1 cup of sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until just combined. Gradually pour in the dry ingredients and beat just until the mixture is smooth. Do not over-beat.
3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and stud the surface with the peach slices and halved cherries. Sprinkle the fruit with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. I used a very coarse strawberry-flavored sugar I purchased in Paris. You can either use granulated sugar, or coarse turbinado sugar.
4. Place the cake on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325˚F, and continue to bake for an additional 50 minutes, or until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack before unmolding.
5. Serve slices of the cake with sweetened whipped* cream and a cherry.
* I added strawberry sugar to my whipping cream. Flavored Monin Sirop would be a good substitution.
• a Martha Stewart recipe adapted by Call Me Cupcake •
TAKE a LOOK:
I have to say, I was thrilled when I woke up to rain. It was the perfect excuse to stay indoors. Our weather this summer has been hot and dry, which means that most of my days have been spent recently, working on outdoor projects. I'm good at projects for a while, but these have gone on far too long -- they have to end!
With the luxury of time in my kitchen today, I caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and baked Cornmeal-Walnut Biscotti. The vegetables were for a Pissaladière -- a Provencal "pizza". And the Cornmeal-Walnut Biscotti -- well, I made those for a little treat with espresso in the afternoon, and as a mid-morning snack, but most importantly, to pair with a cappuccino when I first get up in the morning! I'm a big fan of cornmeal and walnuts, so these biscotti are pretty perfect as far as I'm concerned. The recipe is from Field Guide to Cookies by Anita Chu and I found it through David Lebovitz -- David's adapted recipe here.
And after the Cornmeal-Walnut Biscotti came out of the oven, I made an Espresso Con Panna. I've been hooked on these recently... TO MAKE: Pour about 1/4 cup cold, heavy cream into a small bowl. Using a small whisk, beat the cream until it starts to thicken -- you do not want it whipped into peaks, just thickened. Place the bowl of cream in the refrigerator to keep chilled and make a double espresso. Spoon the cream on top. I love the contrast of the hot espresso with the cold, thickened cream floating on top -- delicious! And be sure to serve a cornmeal biscotti alongside.
TAKE a LOOK:
Dinner at our neighbor's. I was asked to bring dessert.
A screened porch is a cherished possession in Minnesota, protecting you from mosquitoes and the elements. Fortunately, the rain and storms had ended by the time we sat down for dinner. It turned out to be a beautiful evening.
A salad with Fraises du bois, tiny alpine strawberries picked by our neighbor at a local strawberry farm.
Limoncello pulled from the freezer and served alongside the Torta Caprese with Espresso that I brought for dessert.