One thing I didn’t tell you about in my last post is how my trip to Boston also had a bittersweet note to it. The afternoon before I left, my grandmother, my amama Miren passed away in her sleep. It was not a sudden event and in a way, we were expecting it, but having to leave so quickly and being so far away from the rest of my family really didn’t allow for me to mourn her passing until I came back home.
As I am writing this, there is some sadness left in me, but mostly, I am simply thankful for having the opportunity to have known her as I did. She was a quiet, hard working woman who endured difficult times in her life, but somehow managed to always have a positive outlook and a smile to share.
As I was thinking about her this morning, many memories of my childhood with her crossed my mind. Endless hours watching her cook and bake at the pastry shop. Simmering milk, kneading brioche late in the evening when everyone else had already left for the day, peeling apples or just simply blowing our noses.
But there is one summer that I remember clearly when we took a day trip to the small town of Sartaguda to visit my uncle who had rented a summer house by a peach orchard. I must have been about 6 or 7 years old. I remember the car ride there and resting my head on her abdomen and how much I liked doing that. She held my hand while we walked and spoke about her garden when she was growing up. I remember how she picked the peaches right off the tree and cracked them open with her hands to feed them to me.
She was a fantastic cook and baker, but if I had to pick a dessert that described her essence, this would be it. Custard, caramel and summer fruit, her favorites. And so this is for her, for my amama Miren who taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined.
250 grams sugar
60 grams water
Have an ice bath ready.
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook until a medium amber caramel forms. Immediately shock the pan in ice water to stop the cooking process.
Pour the caramel amongst six jars. Let the caramel cool and harden before proceeding.
Note: If peaches are very ripe and juicy, they should be slightly cooked first to eliminate some of the extra water, otherwise the custard might turn too watery.
500 ml heavy cream
500 ml whole milk
200 grams sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
5 egg yolks
3-4 peaches, peeled and diced into small pieces
Place the heavy cream, milk, half of the sugar and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and rest of the sugar. Temper the hot milk mixture into the eggs while whisking. Strain the custard through a fine sieve and let it cool in an ice bath slightly. I like to leave the custard in the refrigerator for a couple of hours so all the foam rises to the top and then it is easy to skim off.
Divide the diced peaches amongst the jars and pour the custard over them. The fruit will rise to the top and that is ok.
Place the jars in a water bath and bake at 300F for about 30-40 minutes or until the center is set. Let them cool completely before serving.
Agur amama. Nire bihotz-bihotzetik.