Friday, September 22, 2017

Pear and Blackberry Galette

When I found some lovely locally-grown Summercrisp pears at about the same time that the local apple harvest was coming into the markets, I was planning to make both a fancy pear and almond tart and some kind simple apple pie. Time (not to mention calorie budgets) did not allow for both, so I ate the apples one at a time for week-day lunches and put the pears into a pie. Finding some nice blackberries as well put in mind a recipe I had bookmarked for an apple and blackberry galette, which was easily adapted for pears.

The original recipe called for peeling and partially cooking the apples before baking them in the galette. Since the pears were quite ripe, soft, and thin-skinned, I could skip both of those steps. If you have larger pears with thicker skins, you could peel them if you’d like. You shouldn’t have to pre-cook them. Just slice them thin and they should bake up just fine.

I’m absolutely addicted to the combination of pears and cardamom, so there was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to celebrate it here. I kept the vanilla extract from the ingredient list in the inspiration recipe, and its harmony with the cardamom, pears, and berries was wonderful: floral, but not cloying, and a little exotic. The ginger in the original recipe would also be very good, I’m sure, as would cinnamon or a combination of warm spices, such as Pumpkin Pie Spice.

I didn’t make a pastry from scratch for this dessert (*disappointed sigh*). I used a store-bought refrigerated crust instead and, while the galette was good this way, I can’t help thinking that a good homemade crust would have made it even better. Use whatever you like or whatever helps you celebrate seasonal fruits and your favorite spices in the time that you have.

I served this galette with lightly sweetened whipped cream, and, when I had some left, Vanilla Ice Cream. I think it would be great with Ginger Spice Ice Cream. I also served it plain, which was very good, too, but a bit of something cold and creamy is a nice accompaniment to a warm and fruity autumn dessert. Don’t you agree?

Pear and Blackberry Galette
Based on a recipe in Food Network Magazine

This pie is great served with whipped cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, or Ginger Spice Ice Cream

1-1 ¼ pounds ripe pears, thinly sliced (peeled if you like)
1 cup blackberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pastry for a single-crust pie, homemade or store-bought
Milk for brushing the crust
Coarse sugar for sprinkling the crust

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the pears, blackberries, sugar, and cornstarch. Gently toss to coat the fruit well. Add the cardamom and vanilla and gently stir to distribute.

3. Roll the pie crust into a about a 12-inch circle. Place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet.

4. Mound the pear mixture onto the center of the pastry leaving about a 2-inch border. Fold the border pastry up over the edges of the fruit filling. Brush the pastry with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

5. Bake at 400 F for 40-50 minutes, or until the fruit filling is tender and bubbling and the crust is crisp and golden brown. Cool on the pan on a wire rack. Carefully transfer the galette to a cutting surface to cut and serve. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.

Makes about 6 servings.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

14 Favorite Apple Recipes

I get so excited about the local September apple scene! I live in the state that developed the Honeycrisp apple, so there’s plenty of regional pride to go along with all those bushels of delicious, fresh, crisp, sweet, tart, all-around-wonderful apples.

And so I’ve put together a list of my favorite sweet or at least sweet-ish recipes from The Messy Apron Archives that feature apples, apple cider, and applesauce. There are quick breads, cookies, cakes, desserts and other delicious dishes in this list, many of them requiring an oven, but not all.

To start, there’s breakfast with:

For sweeter breakfast or afternoon snacks:

More quick bread and cake:

Cookies and bars:

More desserts:

And “The Rest”:

Lucky for me, fresh and uniquely delicious apples are available in local markets well into the coldest months, so I have plenty of time to make and enjoy these old favorites as well as try new recipes. I hope you enjoy apple season as much as I do!

Monday, September 4, 2017

12 September Favorites

My favorite September recipes are kind of a jumble of different delicious things. Summer is usually still around for a while, but I’m doing different things with the seasonal fruit and vegetable bounty, like roasting, stewing, and making pies. I still make salads, but many of them are of a heartier, main dish style. And fall tailgating gives me just the right excuse to make savory snacks, even if I tend to tailgate from the couch.

Of course, my absolute favorite fruits of September are the dozens of locally-grown apples I cook with, bake with, and eat out of hand. I’m leaving the apples for another post, however, so other dishes and produce can shine here.

One of my all-time favorite bean salads was in a September post, Cheddar Bacon White Bean Salad. It’s a bit indulgent for a salad with its chopped bacon, cheddar cheese cubes, and walnuts in addition to vegetables, like bell pepper and celery.

I love to use a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes in this Roasted Tomato and Olive Galette.

Potato Sauerkraut Cakes are somewhat unique with as much sauerkraut as potatoes making them savory and delightful.

Back to school may be your thing this time of year. If so (or even if not), these Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Energy Bars may be just the thing for busy mornings, lunch boxes, and afternoon pick-me-ups.

And as September gets older and colder, spicy stews and soups, like Split Pea and Vegetable Curry or Noodle Bowl with Spicy Greens, are good places to warm up the rest of the garden vegetables for deliciously cozy suppers.

Dips like Bean Dip with Sour Cream, Salsa, and Cheese, and Grilled Zucchini and Feta Dip are perfect for your tailgate snack spread. Leave room for a Cheddar Jalapeno Cheese Ball, too.

And a Melon and Lime Cocktail isn’t too bad for washing down those September snacks.

For dessert, something perky like Lime Bars with Graham Cracker Crust is fabulous.

But my favorite September dessert (without apples) is Plum and Grape Galette with Almonds. I love to use little, sweet locally grown grapes and plums to make it.

I promise to get to a discussion of all the delicious recipes using September’s apples soon. If you don’t want to wait until then, you can look them up in the Index. Enjoy!