Sunday, August 9, 2009

Life is Uncertain.....

....Eat dessert first. ...Ernestine Ulmer

So, as I told you before, there are absolutely (Jess!) no French cooking classes available in Paris during the week we are all there. I so wanted to take a class, then make the meal for our group on New Year's Eve! Uhhh....before we grab our champagne bottles and head for the Champs Elysses!!! So, since I couldn't find an open class, I decided to follow the lines of "Julie & Julia" and teach myself! Since I have NO idea what foods will be in season, I decided to have some options for each course and wait to see what we're going to cook once we get there and hit the markets!

So, I have been cooking, I just haven't been posting them! (Not going to say here how busy I've been...) Anyway, I'm posting a dessert first! It really is by chance. You see, Dennis has this foreclosure property he's handling for Bank of America and there's a huge pear tree in the back.....he's been watching these pears grow for weeks and weeks, all the while hoping they would ripen before the buyer closes. So, the other day he walks into the kitchen and sets down a huge painter's buck filled with pears! A bucketful of pears?? What am I to do with that? Yea, you can eat one or two, and although I don't mind canning, uhhhh....when do I have time to do that?

Then I remembered the Pear Tarte Tatin recipe! I'd been concentrating on the main course recipes, thinking the dessert, appetizer and salad recipes would be a piece of cake (no pun), but I do have to give them each a trial run or two to make sure I've got them right! I looked at several recipes all over the internet and combined several into one of my own.

Pear Tarte Tatin

5-6 pears, peeled and cut into slices (I went for a more rustic cut, but you can get pretty fancy here)

1/2 lemon, squeezed (immediately toss pear slices with lemon juice)

1/2 cup sugar

1 pie crust (I used the Pillsbury crust...usually made with puff pasty....will try that on the next trial run)

After I cut up my pears, I tossed them with the lemon juice and sugar and let them sit while I prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Next mix together in a bowl:

3 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

Splash vanilla (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 cup flour

1 egg

Spread this mixture in the bottom of the pie crust, which you can put into a pie plate or place on a baking sheet, with the edges rolled up to form sides. Add the pears and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

Oh wait! I forgot to tell you to take out about 1/2 cup of the pears, before you put them in the pie plate, which by now should have made quite a bit of their own juices, with about 1 cup of the juices (add water, if necessary). Put them in a pot and simmer on low until the pears are soft...then mash them and continue to simmer until you have a glaze. Once the tart is cooked, spread the glaze over the top and voila (French word)!!! This tarte didn't last long around our house....evertime I came into the kitchen, the remains had a different shape and there was always a knife close by....Dennis ate it one tiny sliver at a time. We shared with a few friends and all thought it was fabulous, but I found so many different ways to make this, that I have to try a few more versions before I decide which will grace our New Years Eve table. Some are made with the crust on top and then turned over after baking...crusty crust....m-m-m-m-m-! Others are made with a caramel type glaze....more m-m-m. Keep an eye out for the next versions!!! Then you can help vote on the final version! Bon Appetit (French word)!

PS Sorry for the horrible pictures....tried a new camera...guess I should have read the instructions first! But you'll get the gist (Anglo-French word)!

No comments: