Happy first Poetry Friday of April, and Happy National Poetry Month!
Though I always look forward to Poetry Month, April is now bittersweet because it’s the month my mother died. Even a year later, it hasn’t fully sunken in. I think of her daily, remembering so many little things — her love of stripes, her big laugh, the sound of her chopping garlic and green onions in the kitchen.
I don’t think about the thin frail woman she was at the end, but the strong, energetic, busy person she was throughout most of her life — always a good sport, the one everybody could depend on to get things done.
It’s true what many people say — part of you fears you may forget the person you lost, and sometimes you feel guilty for happily getting on with things. This universal feeling is beautifully expressed in Christina Rossetti’s poem. Remember when the Dowager Countess Violet shared a line from it with Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey Season 4? Even as we happily celebrate holidays such as Easter with loved ones, we inevitably think of those we miss.
by Christina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Last year Julian Fellowes read the poem for National Poetry Day. It held particular resonance for him because of his own mother.
* * *
A GOOD FRIDAY TREAT
In honor of my Mom, I wanted to bake something I know she would have liked. She was especially fond of bread and pastries and would rarely turn down a butter roll or fruit danish.
I’d never made a danish; it always looked too complicated and time intensive. But what about something that called for store-bought puff pastry? After all, I was happy with how Paddington’s Apple Tart turned out. Hmmm, a little internet sleuthing and I stumbled upon a Peach Cream Cheese Braided Danish at Natasha’s Kitchen.
Just as she said, this danish looks fancy but is deceptively simple to make — which means it’s perfect for an Easter holiday brunch, especially if you’re having last-minute guests and you’re short on time. Very pretty and festive on the table and oh, so good! You basically need just three key ingredients — a 15-oz. can of sliced peaches, 6 oz. of cream cheese, and a box of frozen puff pastry.
Oh, I can hear the purists among you right now: “canned peaches?!” “store-bought puff pastry?!” Well, hopefully you know by now that we’re not food snobs here, and as we approach
near fossilization dignified maturity, we’re happy for shortcuts. You can always make your own puff pastry from scratch (but with good quality frozen out there why would you want to?) and use fresh peaches, but I couldn’t guarantee that your danish wouldn’t turn out too oozy-juicy.
Besides, I love the 50’s vibe of canned peaches — remember how Ramona Quimby’s family always had canned fruit for dessert? I especially loved those peaches and my mom always seemed to have them on hand. If Beverly Cleary can vouch for them, so can I.
So, I first drained the peaches in a colander, then sliced them in half so they were about 1/4 inch thick.
Then I made the cream cheese filling by beating together 6 oz. softened cream cheese, one egg yolk, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, and 1/4 cup sugar.
Next I rolled out the puff pastry to make a slightly longer rectangle about 1/4″ thick.
I spread my cream cheese filling down the middle third of the pastry, then arranged my peach slices on top.
I clipped off the top corners of the dough, cut notches on the bottom edge, then cut 1″-wide strips diagonally along each side (forgot to take a photo as I was so excited to start braiding). To form the braid, I then folded the strips over the filling, alternating sides.
After brushing the pastry with an egg wash and sprinkling on a little brown sugar, I transferred the danish onto a cookie sheet and baked it for about 25 minutes. The recipe calls for parchment paper — rolling the dough on it would make it very easy to transfer everything onto a baking sheet later — but I was out of parchment, so I substituted non-stick foil and it worked out fine.
After the danish cooled completely, I made the simple confectioners’ sugar and milk glaze, then drizzled it on.
Oh my goodness! This was soooooooooo yummy — lightest, airy flakiness, melt-in-your-mouth buttery, and there’s just something wonderful about the combination of peaches and cream cheese.
All I know is, puff pastry is my new best friend. It’s simply magical!
Well, now you know what you must do. Get thee to the supermarket and buy some frozen puff pastry (remember to thaw it overnight in the fridge before using). You could assemble everything Saturday night, refrigerate it, then come Easter morning, brush on the egg wash and bake your danish baby. A nice warm peach cream cheese braided danish will make your Easter extra delicious (the Easter Bunny will probably be so impressed he’ll leave you extra treats). 🙂
The full printable recipe can be found at Natasha’s Kitchen. I highly recommend watching her video so you can see how easy this recipe is, and you can see how she braids the pastry.
* * *
Have a fabulous holiday weekend, friends!
hippity hop hop
* * *
Poet, Author, and Stray Kitty Finder Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is hosting the Roundup at The Poem Farm. Hop on over, take her a piece of peach danish and check out the full menu of poetry goodness being shared in the blogosphere today.
🎊 Big Congratulations to Buffy Silverman for winning the 2015 March Madness Poetry Tournament!! 🎊
Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.