Who'd come to my funeral if I died today? How sad would my husband be and for how long? If I really love him, I would want him to be happy without me, no? Does harboring the secret hope that he'll mourn indefinitely make me a less than ideal wife?? OMG, can't I see my marriage is in trouble??? These are but an example of the runaway thoughts that plague the recent and unsettling phenomenon of unscheduled early morning risings. I have stopped fighting them and taken the unexpected extra time to the kitchen, where a solid round of experiential cooking can always be counted on to assuage anxiety.
Here are some of the things I am finding in my early morning cooking forays:
Neil Young sounds awesome through fancy noise-canceling headphones. My friend Shakira's recipe for shrub makes the loft smell amazing. Beans simmering on the stove warm much better than a space heater. I can add one more taste memory to Ernesto's rich baggage if he rises to freshly baked cookies. Pears in crust with Baci and amaretti are a task to put together but worth the effort. My husband does love me or he wouldn't put up with this.
The above mentioned pears, which I put together for my collaboration with Perugina Chocolates and are a perfect dessert for the Thanksgiving table, will be featured in an upcoming class, the first featuring a full Baci desserts docket. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am teaching it at the Bristol Farms Cooking School in Newport Beach on December 14.
If you are not in LA, here is the recipes for those pears.
Pere ripiene di Baci e amaretti in crosta Baci and amaretti filled pears wrapped in pastry crust
for each 2 juicy and very ripe small to medium pears 3 Baci 3 amaretti cookies 1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur 1/2 tablespoon sugar your favorite pastry crust recipe 1 egg 1/2 Perugina Luisa chocolate bar 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts or almonds
Finely chop the Baci and crumble the amaretti cookies. Mix the 2 together and toss with the Amaretto and sugar.
Peel the pears and cut them in half. Using a mellon baller, carefully scoop out the core to make a small hollow on each half.
Fill the hollows with the chocolates and cookies mixture and recompose each pear by reuniting two halves.
Roll the crust to about 1/2” and carefully wrap each pear with it. If you are inclined to do so, you can make some decorations resembling leaves and a stem.
Beat the egg and brush the pastry crust with it. Carefully place the wrapped pears on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350˚F for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden. Let cool completely before serving.
When ready to serve, melt the Perugina Luisa in a double boiler and finely chop the nuts. Place each pear on a plate, top with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the nuts. Serve right away before the chocolate hardens.