St Petersburg · sweet

Midsummer Roses in Pavlovsk and Almond Puff

Rose

It’s already sort of a tradition to celebrate mid-summer with a post here on my blog: Midsummer’s Black Currant Rhubarb Cake in 2012 and Midsummer Berry Smoothie last year. St Pete has been enjoying glorious summer days for almost a week now, hot and windy and sometimes super-hot and super-windy. This is what I call July in St Petersburg! I bet the city comes across as a completely different place from what one could infer during those never-ending rainy days (weeks). Even the rainy storm yesterday was just OK after a hot and humid day. Everything is relative…

Let’s plunge into rose & white colours of this time of the year.

Rose

This rose is from our dacha, actually, as is this lupin flower:

Lupin

Strawberries this summer enjoyed a week-ful of sun so they were surprisingly sweet!

Strawberry

The same rose several days later:

Rose

And here we’re again in Pavlovsk – while my dad was again taking photos of girls in traditional Russian dresses (see photos here) I was enjoying sun and beautiful nature. The rose garden there is just splendid!

Rose

Cannot choose the best photos so here are all of them:

Rose

I cannot say that I’m particularly into roses but…

IMG_0060

When they are just there on the flower bed and not in a bouquet – I love them!

Rose

Rose roses:

Roses

And then I moved closer to the Palace to take some pics while waltzing to Johan Strauss music coming from a crossroads where (as I heard) a bunch of couples (mostly Grannies) were dancing and apparently did not mind the cars and buses circling around. I went closer to see them dance but then a police car arrived and the music ceased playing : (

Alexander Palace, Pavlovsk

Maria Fedorovna’s BIG initials on top of the Alexander Palace in Pavlovsk (she was the wife of Pavel)

Alexander Palace, Pavlovsk

A flower… bath? =)

Pavlovsk Park

And here’s how to turn an ugly outside cafe into a pretty one:

Pavlovsk Park

Jasmin is still in blossom:

IMG_0049

Here:

Jasmin

Pavlovsk is a place for long strolls in romantically (and actually deliberately) decadent entourage:

Pavlovsk Park

    ***

Although I promised some bread in my next post (and I still do!), here is a sweet treat to celebrate the mid summer day-2014 and the great weather we’re having here:

Almond Puff Loaf from www.kingarthurflour.com

And its second version:

Almond Puff Loaf from www.kingarthurflour.com

A year ago – Midsummer Berry Smoothie

Two years ago – Midsummer’s Black Currant Rhubarb Cake

Almond Puff Loaf adapted from www.kingarthurflour.com will make a real puffed up huge éclair (if you’re lucky) topped with jam – ad there’s even a third layer which is kind of shortcrust-like. Sounds weird? Well, try it! Follow the link to get detailed instructions.

My changes:

I  didn’t add salt although was using unsalted butter. And even though the recipe is called Almond Puff Loaf, I used vanilla instead of almond extract.

As for the topping I chose two different jams -sea-buckthorn and cherry jam. My almonds (sorry, I’m too lazy!) were just toasted and kind of sliced with a knife.

I didn’t use vanilla for the glaze which I made with water and not milk.

Almond Puff Loaf from www.kingarthurflour.com

Remarks: My advice is to better make them thinner – don’t hesitate to really spread both the layers as thin as the recipe says, and also spend as much time on the procedure as is necessary – it’s worth it! The procedure looks really complicated but you’ll see that it’s not – you just need to go through the stages as neatly as possible and the result will be rewarding! And yes, the puffing up in the oven is impressive – but unfortunately the layer will sink as soon as you take it out to cool down.

Almond Puff Loaf from www.kingarthurflour.com

Result: This jam topping on this éclair-like + a shortcrust-like hmmmm cake is quite a discovery! I was thinking of making éclairs recently but was too lazy. So this recipe just turned out to be a huge éclair – I found it out only when I was actually cooking the batter on the stove! Although I spread my puff layer too thick on top of the shortcrust for them to … puff up nicely without sinking into a creamy-like layer, I think the Puffs were a success. Father said they reminded him of some childhood treats. Anyway, this is not your muffin or pound cake (although I do love them), this is something special for you midsummer days.

Almond Puff Loaf from www.kingarthurflour.com

And this is a crazy summer rain a couple of days ago – with a typical 1960s Soviet house as a background:

Crazy rain

Bread. Next post. Promise.

G.

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