12 July 2010

All Hail Deborah Madison – The Fourth Feast

Fresh Fig & Honey Galette (p.696)

My mother is the true pastry gal, as I barely claim to partake in the cake arts.  My grandmother used to say that you could only be a master of pies or cakes, but not both.  I grew up cheerfully volunteering to run out to our backyard to pick tart cherries, gooseberries, blackberries, apples, or (huzzah!) rhubarb, or strawberries – knowing that a warm, gooey, juicy pie would exist on the other end of that chore.  After making my first cakes in college, I thought my fate was sealed: I would be a cake girl, never to know the ways of the pastry life.

Fresh figs have made their annual, albeit brief, arrival in San Diego!  In honor of my father’s birthday, I decided to create this galette using some of Big J.B.’s famous Texas honey from the family farm! 

Maybe I redeemed myself in Pastryland this weekend, maybe not.  This was as beautiful as it was delicious, and I owe many thanks to Sam for grinding the anise seed by hand in my small (but mighty) mortar and pestle.  Sometimes I like to think of him as my ‘chef de partie’, but he deserves a better title and role.  Maybe the ‘chef d'hilarité beau’ is more appropriate!

Side note:  I’m starting to feel like Julie Powell a la The Julie & Julia Project, made famous by Meryl Streep and Amy Adams last year.  However…I would (gladly and ambitiously) rather conquer Madison’s 724 pages of vegetarian goodness than brave a chapter on aspics by the glorious Julia Child (may she rest in peace).

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