A dear neighbor recently gave us a large pail of prickly pear. He has the deep orange variety. These of course had the thorns unlike the ones from the store. I held each fruit using a tong, gave it a quick rinse in the kitchen basin to get rid of cobwebs and spiders, cut the fruit in half with a sharp knife on a cutting board, scooped the flesh out with a butter spoon and dumped the rest in my compost bin – assembly line style. I got about 6 cups from ~20 fruits.
I cooked the resulting flesh for about 45 minutes to release the juices, added a cinnamon stick at the end and let cool. Strained the resulting mass through a steel strainer to get rid of the seeds – if you just let the liquid drip, you will get a clearer jel but I let the pulp through. Finally, followed a low sugar jelly following instructions on Pomona pectin package for strawberries.
This is based on David Lebovitz’s french tart dough recipe. The ratio of liquid to dough is critical in this one. After several failed attempts, the one that worked as advertised was where our chef didn’t really wait for the butter to brown at the edges – just enough for it to bubble.
After the tart is partially baked and cooled, add a layer of fresh made frangipane and add sliced figs on top. Let bake for another 30-40 minutes – during this time, frangipane puffs up and encases the figs. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. And Voila!
The tart shell is delicate and buttery and holds up well to cutting and transfer to plate. Flavor of almonds becomes a lot more pronounced upon cooking. This has so much butter that the gluten molecules pass unnoticed through your system!
Chromatic’s cafe is located in Santa Clara. All their coffees are excellent but Keynote is our regular go to coffee. Their cold brew can’t be improved upon. For those who love coffee flavored sweet drinks, their latte with coconut milk is richly delicious. Currently I am trying their coffee with a very playful chocolate called “Pop Corn Pop” by Chuao. Chef Michael Antonorsi is a Venezuelan chocolatier based in San Diego. Chuao (pronounced chew-WOW) is named after the legendary cacao-producing region of Venezuela.
If you are going towards Asmara in Temescal, consider checking out Doughnut Dolly nearby. They do run out of doughtnuts and close shop – so adjust your expectations accordingly.
We recently moved to a new home in Redwood City, Bay Area’s local Mexicana. Memories of Los Gemelos took us to the spot where Caterina now stands. Yes, the Lavendaria is still next door – bleach smell whafting in threatens to drown out the smell of seared meat. A sensual throaty voice was singing to some not to sensual music. The new owner is clearly fond of the “day of the dead” imagery. And food, well you can rarely go wrong with tacos, fatty bits of pig are fried to crispiness, served with corn tortillas (aah, gluten free….) and topped with spicy salsa.