Food Buzz


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fancy French lunch (and dessert!) with a good friend.

Yesterday I caught up with my beautiful friend D, who looks radiant and is a few weeks away from having her first baby!  Since I missed her shower two weekends ago becuase of my appendicitis, we had lunch to catch up yesterday.  She wanted to cook for me so she made lunch and I made dessert.  It was all quite DELICIOUS!

Both of us are big fans of Ina Garten (also known as The Barefoot Contessa), a Long Island woman like myself who makes lovely French influenced meals and desserts.  D even got to meet her once and got her autograph at a book signing.  Diana chose to cook Ina's Blue Cheese Souffle and made a lovely fresh salad using vegetables from her garden and the farmers market.  She topped the salad with Ina's ceasar dressing (made without raw egg but still delicious!) and also served chicken ceasar salad sandwhiches.  All of these dishes came out delicious.  A picture of the finished souffle is below...before we attacked it.

I knew when D told me she would be making a souffle for a Wednesday afternoon lunch that I had to make an equally fancy dessert.  I have made this Rustic Pear Tart before and it's basically fool proof.   The recipe was from Sunset Magazine (east coasters check it out - it's a gorgeous magazine).

Recipe is below along with pics.

Rustic Pear Tarts with Crème Fraîche

Time: about 1 1/4 hours. Fresh pears and purchased puff pastry add up to an incredibly easy seasonal dessert.

Yield: Serves 6


1 sheet (about 10 by 12 in.) frozen puff pastry (14-oz. package), thawed
2 or 3 firm-ripe pears, such as Bosc or Comice
About 1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 large egg, beaten to blend
About 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar
6 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets. On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out pastry to 16 by 18 in. Cut pastry in thirds lengthwise and in half crosswise. With a wide spatula, transfer the 6 rectangles to baking sheets.

2. Core pears and cut into thin wedges. Arrange, slightly overlapping, on pastry rectangles, leaving a 1 1/2-in. border bare (angle slices if necessary). Warm marmalade in a microwave oven to melt, then brush over pears. Fold border over edge of pears, stretching slightly and pressing down to hold. Brush new edges with egg, then sprinkle turbinado sugar over tarts, especially pastry edges.

3. Bake until pastries are richly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk crème fraîche and granulated sugar until slightly thickened. Serve tarts warm or cool, with crème fraîche.

I made two medium sized tarts instead of 6...and I cut the marmalade, crème fraîche and sugars in half. 
This could be my "signature dessert!"

Chow for Now! :)

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