Opening the Window

I’m not usually susceptible to winter time blues, but I have been in a funk this week for sure. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that a lack of sleep has had something to do with it, as well as it being cold but refusing to snow.

Yesterday though, I got determined to get myself out of that mood. You know how they say that sometimes it has to get worse before it can get better. Yeah, that’s pretty much true. I had to miss not one but two events that I had planned on attending yesterday evening and it made for a sort of wretched early evening thinking about the fun and friends I was missing. After a dinner of ravioli in brown butter sauce made by Joe and a roasted veggie jumble made by me, he and I decided to watch a movie (after, of course, doing a ridiculous number of sit-ups) and eat popcorn. 

This was a most excellent choice. Excellent as in we watched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which was totally perfect. It was nice to laugh as something you’re supposed to laugh at for a change. Not to mention eat a dessert that wasn’t chocolate…but that’s another story.

Anyway, I was going to make turnovers last night for breakfast this morning, but then decided that no, I would get up nice and early and make them instead. And then instead of making turnovers it morphed into a jalousie.

I haven’t made a jalousie probably since pastry school. Which is a shame because they are incredibly easy and incredibly delicious. I sense a lot of puff pastry in my near future. Maybe I’ll even make the dough next time around.

So once I got tired of a toddler clambering over me in bed this morning I left her with her papa and came down to brew coffee and turn the oven on nice and hot. It was still just almost too dark to even realize it was morning, unless you were looking for less obvious signs. 

But I soldiered on and ended up with a breakfast that most people could never eat on a Friday morning unless they were on vacation. I had the last of this years fresh pluots in the fridge, waiting for a dish worthy of them, and also a handful of fresh cranberries. It might not sound like much, but it ended up being spectacular.

Plum and Cranberry Jalousie with Fresh Ginger
Makes 4 servings

A jalousie is a window shutter, the kind with horizontal slats. This pastry resembles it when finished, and if made properly will also give you a new outlook on life, almost as if you were opening a window on a brightly lit morning.

One sheet frozen puff pastry
3-4 smallish plums or pluots
1/4 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half
zest from 1/2 an orange
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp or so freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp of sugar, more if your plums aren’t very sweet
Whole milk, cream or half & half for glazing

Preheat the oven to 400ºF

On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the puff pastry. It will thaw while you prepare the filling, especially if you leave it by the oven. You want to cut the sheet in half, but not quite in half. Also not in thirds. The bigger half needs to be about 1″ wider than the narrower half. This wider half will become the top of the pastry. Set it aside on another sheet of parchment.

While the pastry thaws, prepare the fruit. Wash and slice the plums, each one in 8 or 10 wedges. Halve the cranberries and add to the bowl with the plums. Add all the other ingredients and toss to coat until the sugar starts to break down in the juices from the plums. Let rest until the dough is completely thawed, so the flavors can marry.

Pile up the fruit in the middle of the bottom half of puff pastry, being sure to leave at least 1/2″ all the way around for sealing the top half on. Before placing the top half on, cut about 8 slits, each an inch apart but 1 1/2″ from the ends, in the dough. The slits should be about 2″ long. (This is a step I forgot…do as I say and not as I do,  I guess?) Using a pastry brush, lightly dampen the bottom pastry around the edges and then place the top on. You may need to stretch the dough a bit to match up the edges. Using a fork or a chopstick, press the two halves of dough together, sealing completely. Brush the entire pastry very lightly with the milk, then sprinkle just the littlest bit of sugar on top.

Bake for about 1/2 hour, rotating once to brown evenly (if you can remember…it proved too early for me to follow my own directions).

Let rest for about 5 minutes and slice, pouring a little bit of milk or cream over if you desire a little hint of creaminess.

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