It was a 87 perfect degrees in New York City today and I spied an actual pumpkin at the farmers market. I love this time of year, when you expect it to feel like fall but it decidedly does not; it’s like Bonus Summer: cool enough to bust out cardigans at night but warm enough it feels too soon to audition any of the heavier dishes to come this winter. I’ve been gushing over what Sam Sifton called “valedictory meals” in The New York Times Sunday Magazine — “fall dinners pretending to be summer ones” — and I imagine that wedges of focaccia baked with a grape you can only find this time of year, a roasted tomato salad, many formats of cheese and a lush glass of pink wine would nicely fit the bill.
Still, it feels blasphemous saying this, given that this is a Claudia Fleming recipe and I adore her baking so, but it really drove me crazy. The dough was too soft, there was more oil/butter in there than even possible to apply (and I’m not one who willingly cuts back on butter in recipes) and have you ever tried to seed a Concord grape? Take a seat, it will be a while. An almost paper-like exterior gives way to a gelatinous center that has no interest or inclination to give up its one to four (4!) seeds.