frozen peach sauce = summer in the cooler months ::::
I have become the master of diplomacy in recounting my life on the blog. I find my stories sometimes too weighty for public voyeurism, and I steer away from topics about social dynamics at work, specific patient accounts involving memorable and tear-provoking, gaggy odors or histories of back/groin pain involving 1) sex; 2) misdemeanors, or 3) some involving both (1) and (2).
Or, that for the first three months of working at my job last year when newly hired, I would lie awake at night, heart palpitations like drum beats to Peach’s and Grub’s slow sleepy breaths, worried that I missed something on a patient’s history or exam, causing them to have worse pain or hate me. I unintentionally pissed off a reader recently who made a point to comment on my sparsely commented blog his/her irritation with my vitriol about adult tricycles. It’s not that I don’t think these issues aren’t interesting and can’t be expressed in the right forum, and I would love to record some of them for posterity, I’m just not ready to share most of them with the (small) world of my food blog audience. The funny thing is, is that most of your who read this already know me and my dirty little secrets. So why am I worried about it?
I’m more of a one-on-one kind of friend, sitting comfortably in coffee or tea houses, sipping some warm drink and looking into the eyes of a good friend, soaking in the love, studying surrounding strangers within earshot with their chosen iThingy, their eyes glazed over. You want to hear about my transient sacroiliac joint pain? Come on over! What about the impressive vomit-eat more crackers-vomit response of Grub a few months ago when he was having a GI issue? You don’t want to hear about that? Probably not over food. What about the state of my scum-laden bathtub that I can’t seem to clean enough (That’s right, I never do it enough. Which means I really don’t do it.)
Bloggers often overshare (I really don’t care about the color of your underwear on a foodblog!) or they share the seemingly shapeless mundane events (I got my tires changed today!) that never lead to the main point, which for me is usually food. I value a well-written life story or little cute quips on some blogs. Sometimes the mundane is worth a read. The word well-written is deliberate and worth it — that is key. Unfortunately, and I may tread on some shaky ground with this proclamation, there are so many bloggers without the interest to write. Isn’t writing part of the point of blogging? Has the Internet dulled our ability to understand and to write and craft a cohesive story? I don’t judge. I just think. And I’m not claiming I’m the pinnacle of talent. I just try to improve with time.
My point? Strive to do something better than you are already doing it. Blog like you’re talking to your best friend, but careful what you want the public to know. Pick your battles. Sometimes you have to be a black box — there are secrets in there that don’t need to be told necessarily. That’s where this recipe comes into view: braided peach curd bread.
It looks pretty innocuous in the photo, right? Actually, it’s an amped up doughnut that tastes even better. It’s perfect for a brunch, or even a one-on-one tea (that is, if you can keep yourself from eating the whole loaf). The peach curd is a great touch, even for filled-doughnut haters. My peach sauce from this summer was the trick, sitting all lonely and icy in the freezer. Cream cheese filling? I snuck it by a cream cheese hater without a problem. Black box right here, wrapped up in buttery bread and sweet filling. No need to overshare on this one.
- CURD (you will need about half or less of this for the recipe): 2 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar (a little less if your peach sauce is really sweet)
- ½ cup peach sauce or puree (like the one I made -- see link in post)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon rosewater
- 3 tablespoons butter
- SPONGE: 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1½ teaspoons instant yeast
- ¼ cup (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
- DOUGH: Sponge (above)
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) sour cream or yogurt
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs, 1 beaten for dough, 1 beaten with 1 teaspoon water for brushing bread
- ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups (10⅝ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- Turbinado or white sugar for sprinkling
- PEACH CURD-CREAM CHEESE FILLING: ⅓ cup (2½ ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons (5/8 ounces) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sour cream
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) peach curd
- MAKE PEACH CURD (can be made a day or two ahead): Beat all ingredients except butter over double boiler. Stir constantly until thickened (about 20-30 minutes).
- Stir in butter gradually.
- Strain (if you are using unpeeled peaches) and chill until ready to use. Since my peach sauce recipe used peeled peaches, I didn't strain.
- MAKE SPONGE: In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients. Stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.
- MAKE DOUGH: Combine the sponge, sour cream, butter, egg, sugar, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer or by hand. Add flour and mix with the paddle attachment (or with your hands) until the dough is a rough, shaggy mass. Switch to the dough hook (or use your hands) and knead on until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 5 to 6 minutes (it may be about 10 minutes if by hand). Place the kneaded dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until quite puffy and nearly doubled.
- MAKE THE FILLING: Combine all the filling ingredients (except the peach curd) in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and without lumps. Reserve the filling and peach curd until ready to fill the braid.
- PREPARE BREAD: Deflate the dough and roll it out on a very well floured counter to a 10″ x 15″ rectangle. Transfer rectangle to a large piece of parchment paper or silicon mat. With the side of your hand, lightly press two lines down the dough lengthwise, dividing it into three equal columns. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center section, leaving the top and bottom two inches free of filling. (This is the time to check out smitten kitchen's website for her play-by-play instructional flicker pics -- or mine). Spread the peach curd over the cream cheese filling.
- To form the mock braid, cut crosswise strips one inch apart down the length of the outer columns of you dough (the parts without filling). Use a bench scraper, especially if you have a silicon mat you don't want to cut up and ruin. Make sure you have an equal amount of 1-inch strips down the right and left sides. Remove the four corner segments.
- TO "BRAID": Begin by folding top flap down and bottom flap up over the filling. Lift the top dough strip and gently bring it diagonally across the filling. Repeat on the right side, and continue down the entire braid, alternating strips until you are out. You can tuck the last couple 'braided' strips decoratively under the end of the braid.
- Carefully transfer the dough and the parchment/silicon mat to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic and set it aside to rise for 45 to 50 minutes, until puffy.
- BAKE BREAD: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the loaves with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.