So at night when we have bed party (i.e. "go to bed") we usually watch some things on The Internet before actually going to sleep. Lately it's been Jacques Pépin. "How can you watch a food show right before going to sleep?" says our friend Ryan. Well, it probably has something to do with being too lazy to get out of bed and make food at eleven or twelve.
Q: How awesome is Jacques Pépin? A: SO AWESOME. He is clearly a complete expert, and continually teaches as he goes. It's pretty gratifying to see him doing a bunch of the same things I automatically do: smashing garlic with the flat of the knife, for instance, and reaching into a hot pan with bare hands. Even though I wouldn't make a lot of his richer recipes, like heavy mayonnaise sauces, and don't generally bother with fancy presentation, the food and technique is always super interesting.
One of the episodes had a dessert that was ridiculously easy: jam tartine, aka pound cake slices with jam. This type of thing is totally heritagenous for me. In high school, at about ten at night, my brother Brian and I would get hungry and make a sheet cake or pan of brownies from whatever mix was in the pantry. My favorite was to take a piece of yellow cake, split it in half, and fill it with apricot jam. So seeing Jacques Pépin spread jam on a piece of pound cake gave me some complete food nostalgia.
I can't remember the last time we bought pound cake from the freezer case, but this time we did.
Jam tartine à la Jacques Pépin
pound cake/other cake
fruit and mint for garnish
Cut some slices of pound cake. Don't make them too thin, or they'll bend and break when you try to eat this with your hands: maybe 1/2 inch thick is good. You can trim off the edges if you want to be fancy, but you're just going to eat the scraps anyway, so why bother?
If you don't want to use pound cake (which, flatly, would be a much better idea: frozen pound cake is AWFUL for you, and not as good as fresh cake), you can make and use whatever mild-flavored cake you like. Shortbread or sugar cookies would work well too. We could clearly go in all directions here: even scones or split buttermilk biscuits would be good, although they start to get away from dessert and make a run for breakfast.
Anyway. Spread some jam on each slice of cake. I used apricot, for maximum nostalgia. Apricot is still my favorite kind of jam anyway.
Garnish with whatever fruit you have lying around. We had a bunch of blueberries and a big bag of mint from the CSA box, so we clearly had to use those. The mint was clearly the winner of garnish competition. In the future, I would totally rip up a bunch of mint and strew it liberally over the jam. Other fruit to use: strawberry slices, halved cherries, whatever berry you find at the farmer's market, fig slices and honey in the fall. Strawberry with chiffonaded basil instead of mint would probably be really good. If it weren't so hard to forage more than one mulberry at a time, I would go for some of those, too.
Eat it! You could have this with sorbet, but I think there's enough going on with the fruit and mint already. Plain is fine.