Recently, both of my parents had personal genome (DNA) testing done. The test results tell you about your ancestry, whether or not you are a carrier of certain diseases and provide information about an assortment of random traits such as tendency to like sweet or salty foods, eye color, amount of hair you had at birth, tendency to flush after consuming alcohol, whether or not you have dimples etc. My parents’ results were not surprising per se but still very interesting. Most of the “traits” you can tell by either: (1) looking at them; or (2) knowing them for your entire life. In terms of ancestry, according to the test, my Dad is about 99% East Asian, almost exclusively Japanese but about 6% Korean and 2% Chinese. My Mom is mostly Irish and English and a little bit French and German. This means that I am almost half Irish which may explain my penchant for oatmeal, brown bread, scones and preserves.
If you look in my pantry you will see that I have several different types of preserves in there at any one time. Right now I think I have two kinds of marmalade, blackberry, black currant, rhubarb ginger, strawberry and plum preserves and lemon curd. ALWAYS lemon curd. To some, this may seem strange “Who eats that much toast?” but I use preserves for all kinds of things; on top of waffles or pancakes, warmed up in a saucepan and brushed on fruit tarts, for cake and pastry fillings, a spoonful on top of a bowl of yogurt and granola and, of course, for the zillions of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches consumed around here. In the summer, I like to make my own preserves and put them up for the colder months ahead. Some years I don’t get around to doing much of my own canning and I just get my preserves from the Irish Boutique. The Boutique carries a variety of Irish preserves and there's always something I want to try.
The other day I was meandering through some of my favorite food websites looking for inspiration to motivate me to bake something yummy for a weekend playdate in the park. I stumbled upon this recipe for Almond Puff Loaf with step-by-step instructions and I was instantly sold. You probably have all of the ingredients you need to make it in your cupboard right now (I did) and, as much as I love working with yeast, I also love that this recipe doesn’t require any and therefore also doesn’t require extra time to let the dough rise. Even with the rather long baking time of 50 minutes, there was ample time to throw this pastry together while the kids had their (first) breakfast and still make it to the park by 10:00 a.m. The hardest part was deciding which preserves to top them with - my kind of tough decision.
The recipe makes two pastries so I ended up making one with lemon curd and vanilla glaze and the other with blackberry preserves and lemon glaze.