I love the aroma of butter and flour, eggs and sugar, gently mixed together then properly baked. These four simple ingredients offer so much possibility, especially in the hands of my wife. Breads and biscuits, cookies and cakes, scented with vanilla bean or cinnamon, orange or chocolate. As a young culinary student she tempted me with buttery cookies, teased me with yeast-risen scones, flirted with me via cakes as soft and delicate as a first kiss and won me over with mesmerizing chocolate croissants. My wife, a former pastry chef, still loves to manipulate gluten. She’ll stretch it into loaves of crusty, herb scented breads; coax it into warm buttery biscuits or shape it into flaky crusts for fruit-filled pies. When my wife bakes, she’s capable of creating moments of rapture and bliss that can stop people in their tracks.
“It’s an apricot pastry, would you like a bite?”
Eyes close, breath is held, and time stands still as taste buds are coated in glorious sweet, buttery gluten. In her hands the everyday have regal possibilities; flour, butter, sugar and eggs can create sensations that last for years. Many times I’ve been cornered by former customers and reminded of a favorite cake or tart that my wife once made.
“She used to make my favorite dessert; it was a peach tart with a vanilla bean custard and this buttery crust that was just so memorable—“
Some express their love through words, others with time and still others express their love with tender, flaky pie dough filled with wild blueberries, lemon zest, sugar and vanilla bean extract. Recently she made a tart that started out as pie dough, rolled into the shape of a plank then topped with pate choux paste and baked. As it cooled it was adorned with apricot jam, toasted apricots and powdered sugar. When I bit into a warm slice, I knew she still loved me.
Gluten free? No thank you, I’m not interested. I like my gluten warm, slathered in butter and served with a fresh cup of coffee and a touch of my wife’s lipstick. So if you’ll excuse me; there’s wonderful aromas coming from my kitchen.