It’s a new month and all of Provence has just returned from vacation. It’s also spring which brings very sunny days, beach and skirt weather and almost no humidity. Blossoming flowers, the smell of mimosa and lilacs and something else I can’t recognize.
Basically, what that means is that I don’t have much work. I teach English to adults, and what adult with free time on their hands wants to sit in a classroom on a beautiful spring afternoon learning English? I’m often booked solid, but right now, things are petering down causing me lots of worry about income and also leaving me with lots of free time on my hands. So, what do I do to block out the worry?
Well, most of the time I write. But some days – ok most days – I get the urge to bake something yummy and I resist until I can’t resist anymore.
Today, after teaching in the morning I found myself at home with nothing to do. I went online looking for bread recipes.
Let me tell you something: muffins and cakes are not bread. But that doesn’t matter, because I clicked on facebook in boredom and saw that The Purple Foodie – who I love – had a new, and amazing recipe up. Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread
This actually comes from Joy the Baker who I’d never seen before and is also a new love.
At some point this weekend I intended to make cookies – I had even stopped at the store on the way home to buy butter, but saw this recipe and after showing it to my husband who said “Wow,” and to my sister, through the wonders of AOLIM, who said, “That looks amazing,” I had to make it.
This required me to go back out and buy milk. I know what you’re thinking, “You don’t keep butter and milk in the house?” But the husband and I do all of our normal cooking with olive oil and we get all of our dairy intake (and more) from cheese. It’s France, what else would you expect?
Anyway, I’m am a “faux-pas baker.” I can be counted on to make at least three mistakes in any recipe that I’m trying for the first time. Such as adding all of the flour at once, like I did this time (faux-pas number 1), instead of reading the recipe carefully and discovering that I was only supposed to add 2 cups of flour and then the last ¾ after the dough was starting to combine.
Number 3: I have no measurement estimation perception – if you put two objects in front of me that are slightly similar in size – they’re the same size. So cutting the dough into equally proportioned sizes was just a fail.
At least it gave me a reason to use my rolling pin.
This recipe takes some time to make. It’s pretty easy, but once the gastronomic juices start flowing it was SO difficult to wait for the dough to rise, put it together without munching on it, and then wait another 30 minutes for the dough to rise again. I wanted to cry every 5 minutes when I went back to the dough to see if it had magically risen yet. It hadn’t.
Luckily, the husband had prepared dinner in the meantime: Pepper Frita a provençal favorite during the spring/summer season.
Peppers, tomato paste, herbs and garlic, baked open in a savory pie crust. Because he’s a cheese fanatic, he added some to the top. The peppers and tomato paste (herbs etc) are cooked slowly over low heat for about 1 hour until everything is very melty and everything has become very aromatic. Then the mixture is scooped into the crust and baked for about 20 minutes.
We ate as the bread baked. I stared at the stove. I waited. The smells of cinnamon, sugar, butter and dough permeated through the air. My husband said “It looks promising.” The anticipation was building…
Oh god, yes. Even before I tasted it I knew the answer. The top of the bread is crusty and caramelized from the butter and sugar. The inner part of the bread is moist and soft and mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. It cooked up so well, so fluffy, so full of comforting sweet goodness. Being “pull-apart” bread makes it too easy to pick at. My waist line is going to hate me. I have to stop trolling the internet when I’m bored. It only forces me to make tasty treats.