Welcome to my blog, where one may find all sorts of random, hopefully amusing tidbits about food & other things.

June 6, 2012

pear galette, with vanilla pastry cream.

I think my brother has been watching a significant amount of "Chopped." Recently, he told me he wanted to bake something "interesting."

By he, he meant me. And by interesting, he meant something super good & out of the norm of cake and cookies. Well, the younger brother kept yelling "flambe!!" .. me and the older one just kind of ignored him. I eventually decided on a fruit dessert, and also made a point of making them come with me to A&P to buy pears, because jeez, if I'm baking for them, they need to do at least a little bit for me.

It pains me when I can't use natural sunlight for pictures.

First, prepare the dough. It's a pâte brisée, which translates to "broken dough." It has a high fat to flour ratio, with minimal sugar, which makes for a tender crust.

Stick that in the freezer while you cook the custard. I love pastry cream. It's so smooth, and vanilla-y, although you could totally add almond extract, which would be equally, if not more, delicious.

The pears also need to be finely sliced. It's okay if it takes a while, because the pastry cream needs to cool and the dough still needs time to stiffen.

The theme of this dessert seems to be piles. Pile of dough. Pile of pears. Heaping custard. Mmm and when it all comes together?

It's beautiful. Literally, if you take time to fan out the pear slices in an aesthetic manner. If you need to run back to the TV to watch Murray and Ferrer battle it off in the semifinals, just lay the pears out as evenly as you can. It will still taste amazing, so who cares!

The free-form structure makes it rustic and homey, letting people know it was homemade. But the delicate nature of the entire dessert also makes it supremely elegant. There's actually not a whole lot of sugar involved; the dessert highlights basic ingredients - the sweetness arises from the pears, the buttery crust provides most of the indulgence, and the pastry cream serves as a nice foil to the heaviness of the crust and provides an additional texture.

Of course, you could also eat it "like pizza," as one of my brothers urbanely put it.

I almost made this again the next day, because there was about a quarter of it left ... and only me and my brothers had eaten out of it. So I felt kinda bad for the family .. they're trying to eat healthy, anyway?

I'll make more, don't worry. ... Later, when I should be reading about quantum numbers and learning the 6 steps to approaching a verbal question.

Speaking of MCATs, I should get back to that. Enjoy this recipe!! It's easier than it sounds.

Pear Galette
very slightly adapted from Kokocooks.
  • 1 cup milk (pref whole or 2%; skim could work, but the custard won't set as well) 
  • 2 Tb cornstarch 
  • 4 Tb granulated sugar 
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla 
  • 2 large pears, washed and thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 recipe pâte brisée dough 
  • egg wash - 1 egg + 1 Tb milk 
  1. Heat milk on low heat in a saucepan. 
  2. Whisk together cornstarch, sugar, salt, and egg. 
  3. Increase heat to medium. Add a little hot milk to the egg mixture and quickly stir. 
  4. Slowly whisk egg mixture into the saucepan. Continue whisking frequently until the mixture boils and thickens. 
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Transfer to a bowl, and chill in the fridge. 
  6. Roll out the pastry dough into a round about 1/8 - 1/4" thick. Transfer to greased baking sheet.
  7. Spread pastry cream over the dough, leaving a 2" border. 
  8. Lay pear slices over the custard. Fold edges of dough over the pears. Brush dough with egg wash. 
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 - 35 minutes. To test if dough is done, you can break off a little piece of dough, and if the inside looks unbaked, let it continue baking. 
  10. Remove from oven. Transfer galette to a cooling rack. Eat warm with a glass of milk. Enjoy. 
Pâte Brisée 
from Joy of Baking
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I subbed 1/2 cup whole wheat with great results)
  • 1 tspn salt 
  • 1 Tb granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes 
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup ice water 
  1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in food processor. 
  2. Add butter until texture is of coarse meal. 
  3. Drizzle in water, starting with a 1/4 cup, as food processor is running. Process only until dough starts to come together. If necessary, add more water by the 1/2 tablespoon.
  4. Once dough begins forming, turn out onto a counter top and combine the shaggy bits by hand. Form a ball. Divide in two, and make into rounds. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. If using that day, refrigerate for about 30 mins - 1 hours. 
  5. If rolling out becomes difficult, place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, and then roll. 

1 comment:

  1. Chopped always gives nice (sometimes weird) ideas for desserts.

    For me, financiers.



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