Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tarte aux pêches (Julia's way then mine)

Here's a great little tribute to Julia, and her peach (or apricot) tart (MAFC I p. 639), written just after her death for the Washington Post. I have simplified it just a bit to get it in the oven in 10 minutes flat, but I think it's almost as good. And then I add a recipe, just as fast, that is, in my experience, more typical of French cooking, with custard.

For 6 people
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

9-inch pastry round (such as Pepperidge Farms)
8 to 10 fresh apricots or 3 to 4 freestone peaches
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pea-sized dots
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup apricot preserves
  1. Halve and remove the pits from the peaches. Cut the halves into slices.
  2. Fit the prepared pastry into a fluted pastry pan with a removable bottom.
  3. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of sugar in the bottom of the pastry shell.
  4. Place the peach slices in concentric circles, close together in the shell.
  5. Sprinkle on the rest of the sugar. Dot with the butter.
  6. Bake in the middle level of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit has colored lightly and the juices have become syrupy.
  7. Meanwhile, microwave the apricot preserves and 2 tablespoons of sugar for one minute. Set aside
  8. Slip the tart onto a rack. Decorate with the slivered almonds, and spread on the apricot glaze.

And here's one with a custard, the way you see it in French pastry shops--and almost as pretty.

Tarte aux pêches et amandes

Serves 6-8

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

1 round of pastry for a 9 inch pie pan
1/2 cup pulverized blanched almonds (4 ounces in a food processor with 1 tablespoon sugar)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
2 eggs
  1. Lay the pastry over a 9 inch fluted tart shell with a removable bottom and crimp the edges.
  2. Halve and remove the pits from three or four ripe peaches and arrange them tightly in the shell, cut side down.
  3. Combine the other ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with a wire whip until blended.
  4. Pour the mixture over the peaches, pushing it off the tops of the peaches.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees in the middle of the oven for 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden, the custard is golden in places, and set.
  6. Let cool for an hour on a rack. Remove the tart by carefully pushing it up from the bottom.

All these very French, very easy peach tarts have almond powder. 10 minutes with a prepared crust and don't peel the peaches.

Much the same thing from Marmiton, with cream (not fraiche) and diced peaches.

Another similar: great photos

Maizena is cornstarch!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Concombre sauté: Quick cukes: Sauteed cucumbers

Cucumbers are such an uninspiring vegetable. But they are always available, and cheap, and crunchy, and refreshing. And I am trying to find ways this summer to use them.

Julia peels and slices and soaks them in vinegar for 30 minutes before baking them for an hour (MAFC p. 499). Lovely, and probably less than 10 minutes active time. But I never think ahead about veg. I want something to use those cukes in the frig now. I love sauteed zucchini, so why not cucumber? As is often the case, Emiril has good things to do with simple things.

Serves two. Inspired by Emiril.

one large cucumber (English or garden variety) or two small ones
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
chopped basil and/or mint, or dill
optional: fresh grated nutmeg, chopped garlic, minced shallot or scallion or green onion tops, added with about one minute left to go.
  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan.
  2. Cut the ends off the cucumbers and halve lengthwise. With a spoon remove the seeds, if any. Slice about 1/3 inch thick.
  3. Add the cucumbers and sauté, tossing when the cucumbers have browned a bit on one side.
  4. Add the herbs, chopped, and toss. Grate a little of the optional nutmeg. Season and serve.

Salade de concombres à la crème fraîche ou au vinaigre

I love cucumbers in the summer. They are refreshing. They have no calories. They taste like Iowa. I think my first exposure to cooking was in a funky rooming house where I lived my first year in college. A guy down the hall would make cucumber and onion salad. He was quite heavy. He said it was the perfect diet food. I agree.

And for those times when you want something with cream, hey, cucumbers are still light and full of flavor.

Salade de concombres à la crème fraîche

1 cucumber, medium or large
1/4 cup crème fraîche (or heavy cream or Greek-style yogurt or light yogurt)
1/2 to one tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs, such as dill, mint, chervil (cilantro), basil, parsley, or chives.
  1. Peel the cucumber, leaving strips of green. Slice it into 1/8 inch slices. Place it in them bowl.
  2. Add the salt and lemon juice and toss.
  3. Then add the crème fraîche and toss.
  4. Chop the herbs and garnish with them. Grind the pepper onto all.
Salade concombres au vinaigre

1 cucumber, medium or large
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 to one tablespoon white wine vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
1/8 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs, such as tarragon, dill, mint, chervil (cilantro), basil, parsley, or chives.
  1. Peel the cucumber, leaving strips of green. Slice it into 1/8 inch slices. Place it in a plastic bowl.
  2. Add the salt, vinager, and minced onion and toss.
  3. Chop the herbs and garnish with them. Grind the pepper onto all.


Is this my competitor blog?!

Also contains Salade concombres vinaigre