Children in their smart polos and khakis have gone back to school. Maple leaves with burnt brown edges are breaking free from their trees and tumbling down sidewalks. There's a crispness to the air that arrived overnight, a welcome change from the heaviness of Indian summer.
Pumpkin lattes and hot apple cider are popping up on menus just as leather boots and houndstooth skirts fill store windows. Doggies and their humans jog through the neighborhood in chunky knit sweaters. What a lovely way to start a new season.
Autumn has always been my favorite time of year but it means more to me this time around than before. It's Vacation Week in our house and it seems the chilly air arrived with it in a carefully choreographed move. It's as though the universe knew we needed something fresh and invigorating so it lowered the temperature just for us.
There's a growing to-do list that needs to be checked off over the next few days -- get an oil change and Maple's nails clipped, exchange Canadian money for American, and oh yeah, start packing -- but excitement have overtaken any anxiety about last minute details.
This road trip will take us through eastern Canada with a 3-day stop in Charlotte, Vermont before arriving in the New York Catskills. The goal is to, somewhere along the way, find our next place to call home.
It's a strange coincidence that this trip will begin on September 11th, but if you want to twist a metaphor, it is Patriot's Day, And this patriot misses her home dearly.
This incredibly rich cake is the perfect way to welcome the cooler weather.
Flour is replaced by half a dozen eggs which are divided into thick, creamy
yolks and a beautiful egg white meringue. The result, a crossover between
a cake and a ganache, quite literally melts in your mouth.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
8 ounces dark chocolate, at least 70% cacao (I used Baker's Premium Dark)
6 large eggs, separated
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup granulated sugar
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave for a couple of minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. Let cool slightly before whisking in the egg yolks.
With a mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, then the vanilla seeds (cut the vanilla bean length-wise and scrape the seeds out using a paring knife) and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form. Whisk about half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the rest.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and is set in the center, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing the sides of pan.
Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve at room temperature (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you're feeling extra decadent).