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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pear Galette

In A Well-Seasoned Appetite, Molly O'Neill's collection of  "recipes from an American kitchen," she wrote about her dissatisfaction with pears for not being apples. I've always believed O'Neill was stating that while she was quite pleased by pears, she simply wished that they weren't gritty, and rather that they were also as tingly crisp as apples. While I wholeheartedly agree, I had no problem taking a bite out of this recipe for pear galette and quickly scarfed down (winter time, get it?) two slices. But to round out the point in a way, I do however find quince to be a kindly considered hybrid of apples and pears, respecting both parties.

This dessert is elegant and designed to impress but honestly it's not even that difficult and moves along pleasantly. Just have your frangipane ingredients all measured out for convenience sake, and use care when dealing with the delicate business of slicing the pears. Work quickly too, so your pie dough doesn't lose its vigor before being transferred to the rimmed baking sheet (or pie dish, as I used).

Edges brushed with egg wash before going into the oven...

While making my galette, quite by happenstance, Laura Nyro  sang out on my stereo, "...marzipan sweet bakin out in December..." How rich! (while frangipane and marzipan do have their differences, the lyric was certainly apropos enough here) for sour cream on that? Extra jam topping? I'd be delighted!

The recipe for Pear Galette below and the direct link with a more printer-friendly page is here.

From the Williams-Sonoma test kitchen:

Pear Galette

For the frangipane:
1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) sliced almonds
2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g) sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1  tsp. almond extract
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted 

3 firm but ripe pears, preferably Comice or Anjou

1 batch Basic Pie Dough
1 egg beaten with 2 tsp. water
1/4 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) apricot jam 

Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C).

To make the frangipane, in a food processor, combine the almonds, sugar and salt and process until the almonds are finely ground. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and melted butter and process until the mixture comes together. Set aside.

Cut the pears in half through the stem end and remove the cores with a melon baller. Slice the pears very thinly vertically, stopping 1/2 inch (12 mm) from the stem so the pear slices stay attached at the stem end.

On a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the pie dough into a round 13 inches (33 cm) in diameter and about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Trim off any ragged edges to make an even 12-inch (30-mm) round.

Evenly spread the frangipane over the dough, leaving a 2-inch (5-cm) border uncovered. Fan the pears in a decorative pattern on top of the frangipane, cutting the pear halves in half vertically if necessary to make them fit. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the filling, forming loose pleats all around the edge and leaving the center open. Using the sheet of parchment paper, transfer the galette and parchment to a rimmed baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the galette with the egg wash.

Bake the galette until the pears are tender when pierced with a knife and the crust is golden brown, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

While the galette is cooling, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the jam until it is liquefied. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the top of the tart with a thin coating of the jam. Cut the galette into slices and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 to 8. 

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