Saturday, March 22, 2008

Galette aux poires

I have always loved to make Julia's free form tarts (MAFC II 454, 457), because you can make them any shape. I made strawberry for Mary's graduation open house. A great day.

They are in the oven in 10 minutes with pre-rolled-out pie crust, your own or store-bought. Don't get the kind that are already in pie pan. They are dry and horrible. Get the kind where the dough is rolled out into a round and then rolled up in waxed paper.

A corer makes cutting up the pears (or apples) short work.

Cooking spray
1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury) OR 1 sheet Pepperidge Farms puff pastry thawed in advance (yes, cheating) OR your own dough made in advance.
3 firm Bartlett or D'Anjou pears, peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices (a corer is essential for speed)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400°.
  1. Slice and core the pears. Cut the slices into 3/4 inch pieces.
  2. Toss with the sugar, flour, and lemon juice. Grate nutmeg on them (or use ground).
  3. Unfold the pastry and place it on a sheet pan or pie pan.
  4. Add the pear mixture to the center. Then fold the edges around and pinch the edges secure
  5. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the pears done. (The filling may leak slightly during cooking). Cool galette on a wire rack.


There are infinite variations, both in the fruit and the shape of the tart. Here I give filling for two rhubarb tarts. We planted rhubarb when we moved here twenty-some years ago, and the plants still give us a favorite tart filling. Maddie loves to make these, even though our uncle Chris calls it "sour celery."

Rhubarb Galette

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 pound rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small piece

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

  • 2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tranches de jambon Moranville

I know that Julia braises a whole ham (MAFC I 391). But hey, I grew up on fried ham. So this is country fried French.

The secret is of course good ham. And we have that in Iowa. It's not as good as Kentucky, those southern smoked hams. But damned good, especially if you can get some old genes (heirloom) pork.

For 4 people

1 to 1.5 pound excellent smoked ham, cut 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brandy
1/4 cup Madeira OR port
1 shallot or scallion white, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup creme fraiche OR no-fat sour cream
1/2 cup pot roast gravy OR 1/2 cup beef stock mixed with 1 tablespoon Wondra
1 tablespoon chopped parsley or scallion greens
  1. Heat a large skillet on medium high and add the olive oil and butter. Warm the oven.
  2. Add the ham, cut into 4-5 ounce portions and patted dry. Saute until the edges begin to blacken, about 3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mince the shallot or scallion and chop the parsley or scallion green. Mix the liquids.
  4. When the ham is browned, remove it to a plate, cover with another plate, and place in the warm oven.
  5. Add the shallot to the skillet and cook 30 seconds.
  6. Add the wine, gravy or stock, brandy, tomato paste, and cream. Stir until smooth.
  7. Pour any accumulated juices from the ham into the sauce, then distribute the ham onto four plates and pour on the sauce. Garnish with parsley or scallion greens.