Culinary Arts….Pear Galettes

Today my students made pear galettes to sell at our stand at the pumpkin farm. This is one of my favorite autumn desserts. There is real progress being made with the pastry crust. We’ve got a couple of potential bakers here. One helpful trick is upping the ratio of butter to flour a little bit. Then, a slightly over worked dough is not dry or tough. We also add a bit of sugar to the pastry and make sure it is chilled for 30 minutes before rolling out.

Crust for 4 Galettes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/8 t. salt

1 t. sugar

1/4 lb. unsalted butter, cold

3-4 T. ice water

Mix the flour, salt and sugar. Cut up the cold butter in 10-12 pieces and work into the flour with a pastry blender.

Sprinkle the water, about 3 T. onto the flour mixture. Toss with a fork to mix water in. No stirring or mashing please.

Scoop dough together into ball. If it doesn’t hold, add that last Tablespoon of water and fluff it abit more. It should come together like a John Lennon song. Press into disk, chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, find your pears…..maybe they are outside on the little table by the porch….maybe they are the ones you canned a month ago…maybe they are some canned from the store…these do work, but the texture is not quite the same…and there is not a darn thing like a fresh pear, or fresh anything….am I right? of course. this is my world.

Peel, core, and slice 2 pears into 1/2 inch slices, have some sugar and cinnamon, maybe fresh grated nutmeg, you know that will be good.

For nuts, my favorite is a filbert. Do not try to convince me these are hazelnuts. I know they are in the same family….but you have to admit there is a hint of peanut flavor to the back of your tongue with a hazelnut and filberts are just plain toasty! Nutty! The woods in November tasty.

Pecans would be nice. Or walnuts too. So, 1/4 cup, toasted and chopped.

Take the dough out, turn the oven on 400 degrees. Divide dough into 4 ping pong size balls. Gently roll out to a 5 inch round with a tiny bit of flour. Place 4 pieces of pear in center, sprinkle with a bit of sugar, a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon, or both, and pleat the edges up around the pear, in a circle, leaving a space in the middle where the pear shows through. Brush the pastry with a bit of milk or half and half. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar and some of the chopped filberts.  Bake for 20-25 minutes on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Take out, cool and serve with something creamy and vanilla flavored. You will think of something.

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So, I was discussing the word “macabre” with my students today and I found this photo of a halloween decoration which illustrates the word very well I think. Slightly scary, slightly odd, and strangely beautiful.

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What do you think?

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