... cooking and baking!
I thought everything was fine and that I needn't worry about a thing, until last Friday when I somehow decided that I needed to bake a plum tart that required a home-made plum jam, a frangipane, and a made-from-scratch pie crust.
I spent a full 3 hours in the kitchen completing each task and suffered only one minor disaster when, after having frozen the pie crust for an hour and attempting to pre-bake it for 10 mins, it drooped down the insides of the lovely earthenware dish and didn't appear very capable of actually holding all of the other ingredients together. I tried to push it back up a bit with my fingers (forgetting it came straight out of the oven on the first go - ouch) but it slumped right back down and I got a little nervous.
I decided to go ahead and throw in the jam, then the frangipane and then the fresh, quartered plums macerated in icing sugar, and finally to carefully sprinkle some almond slivers on top - as if their weight was the one thing that was going to make this thing collapse upon removal from its baking container. When you've put 3 hours of work into something, you kind of want to be able to enjoy the end result, you know?
It all looked terribly soupy once assembled and my nerves were getting a little out of control, something that was worsened by my crazy idea that I could stick the tart in the oven, leave home to pick the girls up from school on The Beast, ask Lara's teacher a few quick questions and hurry on back home in time to take the darn thing out of the oven.
Of course I hadn't considered Lara falling down the stairs at school and needing care before we could head back. Once we determined she was in one piece and she was able to stop sobbing I tried to pedal that Beast back home as quickly as my legs could handle (which sadly was so slow that I got overtaken by an old lady, twice!). The recipe said that the tart would need about an hour in the oven and by the time I got home it had been in there for at least 75 minutes, but a quick check revealed a still sort of soggy looking mess so I left it in there, set the timer to an additional 15 minutes, and prayed. At the end of those 15 minutes I noticed bits were starting to go a bit blackish so it had to come out. Much to my relief it didn't look too bad! It looked like it might actually hold together and taste kind of good!
And, well, it did. It tasted VERY good, much to my surprise. So good some people had seconds (and thirds). Jamie Oliver sure knows his way around plums and almonds. I love how the colours in this piece of sweet yet tart yumminess perfectly go with autumn.