My daughters are each in their own way quite practical, especially when it comes to worrying, which—and I don’t mean to toot my own horn here at all--I raise to Olympic levels. They take after their father more in this regard, mercifully, being much more judicious in terms of what they worry over or tolerate others worrying about. After learning I was born on a Wednesday, some years ago one of them crayoned me up a sign that said “Just Say No to Woe,” which I would show you here but our photos are not at all organized, which I am pretty worried about.
Anyway, back in the days when I kept a flower garden, I had a hibiscus plant. I may still have it. Hard to say. But when the girls were small it was glorious, several feet high and blooms as wide across as soup bowls. Every fall, I did as I was told (that right there should give you a sense of how long ago this was) and cut it straight back to the ground. In the spring, there followed several anxious weeks of peering at the spot where it had been, wondering if I had killed it. My oldest caught me at this once, and I explained that every fall I hacked it down and every spring I worried that it was daid. “But it always comes back?” she asked, and I told her that it did. “Maybe,” she said gently, “you can stop worrying about that now.”
She was right, of course. I could, and I did, and consequently I freed up a little mental bandwidth to worry pointlessly about some new and different things.
Most summers, for example, I worry that I have not canned anything at all and the summer is going by and no food has been stored and there goes another year wasted. People start posting jam recipes hither and thither in June, chutney this and jelly that, and on they go when I do not even know where the beach towels got stored last year, let alone where the jar lid magnet got to.
Then late August rolls around, and with it tomatoes, peaches, apples, pears and quinces, and I remember that I never can in June or July or even, functionally, August. Labor Day is the real starting bell.
It’s true that I hardly did justice to the berries this year, which are a July phenomenon and which I generally freeze by the bucketload. It’s been an exceptionally sad, busy, tiring year and it was hard enough to make lunch or do laundry, and I did let the berry train pass right by, for the most part. But in canning terms the peals of the starting bell are just ringing out now, really. The wild rumpus only beginning. And so forth. So I don’t have to worry, or anyway not about that.
This weekend Mr. Big Gorgeous Canning Pot was released from the beetle-haven of the basement. From his cavernous depths. I’ve already hauled out a double batch of Indian-spiced pickled beans,
twelve jars of tomatillos,
and 8 glorious pints of what we affectionately call “Peach Glop.” I may redeem myself yet.
With the peaches that escaped the Glopper, I made a quick clafoutis. This has happened before, but since the last time I talked about it here was two years ago, I thought I could talk about it again. And not, you know, worry.
But of course the first clafoutis (though highly edible) failed to puff and become generally gorgeous, so then we all had to suffer through my making it a second time for breakfast the next day, which, as worrisome things go, is not as troubling as other stuff that comes at a girl.
Second one came out fine. So I can stop worrying about that, and move on to other stuff.
- two large or three medium ripe peaches, chopped or sliced
- a good scraping of lemon zest (meyer lemon zest is a boon here)
- a nice splash of St Germain elderflower liqueur, or failing that, white wine
- 1/3 c sugar (divided)
- 3/4 c half and half
- fat pinch of salt
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 c all-purpose flour or your favorite GF substitute
To gild the lily, come serving time:
- a handful of finely minced lemon balm or lemon verbena leaves
- a dollop of crème fraiche
Mix the peaches, lemon zest, booze and 1T of the sugar in a small bowl, and set aside.
Heat the oven to 375. Generously butter a 10″ glass pie plate or ceramic baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine the remaining sugar and all the other ingredients. Whisk or blend (an immersion blender is nice for this) until perfectly smooth.
Pour the peaches and the juices they have accumulated into the prepared pie dish. Now pour the batter over the fruit, and pop that bad boy into the hot oven. Bake until puffed, set in the center and browned at the edges, about 30-35 minutes–but keep an eye on it after 25 minutes, as ovens vary a lot. If your oven has a convection setting, use it for the first 15-20 minutes, then you can turn it off and turn the heat down a hair for any remaining time needed.
It will deflate on its way to a temperature you can safely eat it at, but so be it.