I made 20 Galettes des Rois last weekend and forgot to put a bean in 16 of them. I went down to the cellar, but had no idea what I was looking for. I returned a bunch of empty bottles, and then forgot to ask for my refund at the register. I went to bed, and upon waking found that I'd forgotten to take out my contacts.
We're one week into the new year, and as much as I'm looking forward to everything 2017 has to offer, I'm not ready. I'm distracted. And distracted is the last thing I want to be when I'm about to embark on a whole new year of experiences - a big year, I'm sure. A giant whirlwind of experiences, I predict.
2016 was a year of planting seeds for me. It was about finding my voice, my style, my rhythm, my place. It was a year of growth - boy, has it been a year of growth -, but also one that held enough certainty to warrant aimless wandering. 2017 is my year to harvest. This is the year I really want to make things happen. I want to take initiative. Embark on creative collaborations. Establish an inspired space and share it. Contribute to exciting projects and beautiful publications. Build relationships, professional and beyond. Work.
More than anything, though, I want to do this mindfully. I want to learn to see the value in my work and take that as a lead. I want to find the projects that feel right, and invest in them as much as I can, without losing track of that crucial aspect of self-care. Only, as I see the new year's resolutions come and pile up, I can already feel the pull of my own desires. I want to bake more sourdough, make more pie, find more time to write, travel, and cook. Again, I want it all. I want too much.
So, I prefer to linger in the dark days just a little bit longer, where I will take just a little more time to gather my thoughts and make sense of my truest plans and goals before it all really starts. I do not want to rush into 2017; I want to step into it with strong, but kind determination. It won't take long, I promise, but until then, let's just enjoy one more quiet moment of coffee and cake.
Happy new year, friends.
• This is a more everyday kind of version of Linda Lomelino's layered Cinnamon Bun Cake. The cake is spiced with a healthy dose of cardamom and moistened with sweet pears and sour cream. Instead of the cinnamon frosting, I've added a cinnamon crumble, which, together with the pearl sugar around the edges, gives the cake a lovely crunch. To balance out extra sweetness from the crumble and extra moisture from the pears, I slightly reduced both the amount of sugar and the amount of milk.
• The recipe calls for freshly ground cardamom pods, and I highly recommend you stick to it. The flavor and fragrance are just so much more intense than with pre-ground cardamom!
• Toss the pears in a tablespoon of flour. This will prevent them from releasing too much moisture into the cake and sinking to the bottom.
pear cardamom cake w/ cinnamon crumble
adapted from call me cupcake
makes one 20cm/8inch cake
for the cake
300 g all-purpose flour, plus 1 tbsp for the pears
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp whole cardamom seeds, finely ground
100 ml sour cream
120 ml whole milk
100 g unsalted butter, room temperature
250 g granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 medium pears (ca. 400 g), ripe but still firm, peeled, cored and cut into 1,5 cm pieces, tossed in 1 tbsp of flour
pearl sugar (optional)
for the cinnamon crumble
30 g all-purpose flour
40 g granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
40 g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1. Preheat oven to 175˚C. Grease a 20cm/8inch springform pan and dust the bottom and sides with pearl sugar.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together 300 g flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom. In another bowl, stir together sour cream and milk.
3. In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft. Add the sugar and continue to beat until pale and creamy. Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated.
4. Adjust the mixer speed to low and add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the sour cream mixture. Continue to add flour and sour cream, alternating, until everything is incorporated. Use a spatula to fold in the pears, then pour batter into the prepared cake tin and even out the top.
5. To make the crumble, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and use your fingers to break up the butter, until sandy and crumbly. Sprinkle over the cake batter.
6. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, until the top looks golden and crunchy and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before unmolding.