I started out a baker. I don’t mean just professionally, I mean in life. By the age of five I had a reputation for being into butter, sugar, and braiding hair. Cute, and also odd.
Between my mini M&M sized fingertips I rubbed flour into butter and remembered to touch the dough only as much as I needed to for rolling and baking. I never crowded cookies on the sheet. I was in complete and smack down admiration of my mother’s pies. I looked at a piece of pie and thought about it like an eighth wonder. I wished my Aunt Faye would write a cake book to record her mile high and tender crumb wonders for when I learned to read.
I waited without moving for my grandmother to show up with her cheesecake.
I worry about if people are going to like my stuff and if they are going to think I am qualified to bake.
Now that I am in the home stretch of ordering ovens and racks and work tables and securing permits and credit and finding people to work alongside and nailing tax numbers and the authority to collect sales tax and the permission to drill holes in the wall for the electrician and figuring out the best coffee and the best cheese, butter, milk, fruits, vegetables, soups, and bread, I worry about,
“Can I Bake.”
And you know what?
I can. I know I can.
And you know what else? It’s not just any baking. When you have loved something so bad since before you can remember there is a love line that opens up. Nobody can argue with the love line.
Try this. You don’t even have to put it in the oven. Smush up Zwieback crackers and add enough melted butter and sugar to make you happy. Set aside. If you want to give it that certain Je ne sais pas add a teeny weeny bit of ground cardamom.
Halve a bunch of small empire apples, as fresh from the tree as possible. Put them in a covered pot with a few tablespoons of water and a cinnamon stick. You can sugar them up or not. Simmer til tender. Push them through a ricer and taste.
Layer with the Zwieback crumbs in a bread pan, making about four layers, with a center layer and top layer of barely whipped, barely sweetened cream.
Serve with a cup of freshly brewed coffee.