Peaches, Cookies and Bourbon Cream

Peaches-Cream2

This dish has a lot going for it even if the “cream” was not as successful as I would’ve liked. The flavors are spot on perfect and the textures work really well. It is a dish that I’d like to revisit and refine some more. I served this after a dinner of seafood paella to a couple of friends visiting from Florida. I wanted it to be a simple comforting summer dessert with familiar flavors and some refinement.

Poached Peaches2

The blue print here is a buttery cookie base, a Sablè Breton to be more specific, topped with poached peaches and served with airy crème anglaise (custard sauce) and garnished with pistachios. I prepared the sauce using the modern sous vide method from Modernist Cuisine at Home instead of the traditional stove top method. It’s simpler and requires little attention while at the same time pretty much eliminates the room for error that could result in a curdled sauce. To prepare it, a mixture of yolks, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla goes in a Ziploc bag. This is then cooked in 82 ºC water for 45 minutes. I chilled the mixture and whisked it for a few seconds and it is done. In addition to the vanilla I added bourbon to the sauce after chilling. Bourbon and peaches go great together so that made perfect sense. I purposefully did not cook the bourbon to evaporate the alcohol because I wanted to keep all the flavor in as well as a bit of kick.

Peaches-Cream

I wanted the sauce to have some substance and texture on the plate so that it can take on some form instead of just drizzling it on. I added gelatin to the cooled sauce and poured it into an iSi cannister that I charged with N2O. The gelatin is there to give it the needed structure and using the iSi is to aerate and lighten the sauce on the plate. Ultimately I do not think I used enough gelatin in there (that seems to always be the case with me) and the sauce had some structure but not enough to maintain a cleanly defined form on the plate for more than a minute or so. What I really need to do is research a bit more how much of a certain gelling agent is needed to give me a set foam. I have all the resources I need to find this information, I was just lazy here.
Sable

For the cookie portion, I used a recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Gordon Ramsay: Three Star Chef book for Sablè Breton. This is a slightly sweet buttery pastry that is used to make tarts and cookie sandwiches. Due to the high butter ratio in the dough the cookies tend to spread if not baked in a ring mold. I wanted them to be nice and round. so I rolled the dough into a thick log and sliced it. Then I gently squashed the dough circles to flatten them between the bases of two small (about 3 in. diameter) tart pans. I baked the cookies in the tart pans and then used a cookie cutter to trim them into neat 2 inch circles while they are warm out of the oven.

1-Peaches and Cream

The peaches are the easiest part. I quickly blanched them, peeled them and cut them into wedges. These got poached gently in a sugar syrup flavored with vanilla. To plate I dispensed some of the well-chilled custard into a bowl and topped the Sablè Breton with a spoon of it. I added more custard to the plate and topped the dessert with poached peaches and toasted crumbled pistachios. The flavors and textures were fantastic.

Poaching Syrup Poached Peaches

The Master (Paul Thomas Andersen – 2012) B

It was different than what I expected. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is not my favorite P.T. Anderson movie. It’s not really about a cult leader who is played by Philip Seymore Hoffman but about the character of Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix). He is a WWII vet who is not the sharpest tool in the shed. He is violent, a drunk and seems lost after the war. He is a prime candidate for indoctrination by Lancaster Dodd. We see the rise of this cult from Quell’s perspective as he gets sucked into Dodd’s world. The acting is excellent by everyone here, the direction is as good as I would expect and the film is not boring. It just needed some sort of sympathetic anchor.

Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée – 2103) A-

The strength of this movie is really the awesome performances by Jared Leto (so unrecognizable) and Mathew McConaughey. They do a great job as a transvestite, Rayon, and homophobic cowboy, Ron, who are diagnosed with AIDS in the mid-eighties. With lots still misunderstood about the disease and no viable FDA-approved drugs to treat the symptoms they start a “business” to bring in drugs from Mexico, Europe or even Japan. Ron played by McConaughey, is the driving force of the film. The movie does a good job in capturing the chaos of that time and place that was known as the AIDS epidemic and how slow the wheels of government were turning in getting people the help they needed. It’s also a very sweet film with moments of triumph, joy and pain.

Flight (Robert Zemeckis – 2012) C+

A movie that starts off with a bang and then labors through over two hours of the portrait of an alcoholic. That is not too bad if it did not get terribly boring throughout most of that span. Despite a very good performance by Denzel Washington as Captain Whip Whitaker I just mostly did not care. The most interesting segment was involving the conversation with a cancer patient we meet in the hospital stairwell where captain Whitaker was recovering after the plane crash.

The Killer Inside Me (Michael Winterbottom – 2010) C-

I really did not like this movie much. It’s violence is sickening and the story is not very compelling. Something though makes this not total junk. It’s main character is played perfectly and stoically by Casey Affleck. He is a sick individual who has no redeeming qualities. He seems like a nice down home Texas boy in the 1950s when the movie opens up. That makes it all the more jarring when he explodes. This cycle gets a bit tiring though and by the time we get to the inevitable conclusion  I was really ready for it to be over.

Blue Ruin (Jeremy Saulnier – 2013) B+

I liked this indie. It’s about the cycle of revenge and vendetta. It’s a horrible messy business that seems to have no winners. The performances, especially by the lead character, are a bit stiff and rough but I really did not get too distracted by that. The movie works, is well directed, takes its time and flows great.