9.03.2009

Season Straddling

Well, it's happened. The sun has started to set earlier, there's a distinct chill in the morning air, the apples and pears are coming in, and I expect pumpkins to start appearing everywhere I look. Also, school has started.As such, I've decided to stop worrying about it getting cold and just embrace all that Fall has to offer. Tomorrow I teach my first class of the semester, so it seems like the right thing to do, getting used to the season.

BUT. I'm not done with Summer yet. So, I made yet another batch of pesto, threw it over some pasta and cooked up some corn on the cob. I also pan seared some salmon filets and topped them off with a little pesto cream. This was the summery portion of our program:
As part of this Fall-embrace, I'm reminding myself of all the things I like about that peculiar snap in the air. Students lugging backpacks across the Yard and the first tiny white traces of frost. Lucy huffing and puffing while playing outside and little clouds of steam rising from her snout. Hot tea. Pumpkin soup. Butternut Squash.

And so I decided tonight to oh-so-cautiously nose my way into warm-fruit-dessert-season with a very free form pear galette. This is really the one-toe-at-a time way of heading boldly into Fall. Like a coward entering a cold ocean. But the subtlety of the pear's flavor paired with the rich muddy brown sugar is a gentle entree into Pie Season.

The results of this experiment were delectable as dessert, but will be breathtaking for as pre-teaching breakfast. Wish me luck tomorrow and, next time you need to fortify yourself and start to ease into the new season, make one of these puppies.
Early Fall Pear Galette

Ingredients
  • leftover pie dough (2 1/2 c flour, 2 cups butter, pinch salt, 4 T ice water)
  • two pears, quartered, cored, and sliced thin
  • 3 T dark brown sugar
  • 6 vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T granulated sugar
Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Roll out the pie dough until it's (VERY) roughly circular, about 10" in diameter.
  3. Sprinkle the crushed vanilla wafers around the middle of the dough. They absorb some of the liquid from the fruit and add a layer of crunch and some substance to the floor of the galette.
  4. Arrange the pear slices in a roughly spiral pattern. It doesn't really matter how you arrange the slices, but if you take a little effort (I took a TINY bit of effort), it will be prettier.
  5. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the fruit more or less evenly.
  6. Fold the edges of the dough over about two inches to create the crust.
  7. Pop the galette into the oven for about 30 minutes.
  8. Melt the butter.
  9. When the crust begins to brown, brush the top crust with butter and sprinkle granulated sugar on top. This gives a little more crunch and sweetness as well as encouraging the crust to brown.
  10. Bake about 15 more minutes (for a total of about 45 minutes, I think. Though to be honest I didn't time mine.)
Slice and serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. I chose Caramel Pecan from Emack & Bolio's. It was a good choice.

Also, if I were more committed to the Fall Thing, I would have added some spice to the sugar - maybe ginger and/or cinnamon? Is this the sort of thing you would be tempted to add cardamom to? I think I have a passionate love for cardamom, but have actually never cooked with it myself. A little citrusy tang might also not help. Maybe a squeeze of lemon or even just lemon zest? What do you all think?

3 comments:

Jess said...

I might add the teensiest bit of ground clove with mine, though cardamom is a good choice... and GINGER! ginger with pears is delightful, though not necessarily fall-like :)

Kristen said...

When was I supposed to come over to taste-test these lovely fall treats for you? ;) xoxo

Jess said...

Love this post, Emily. I'd like a bite of that galette right about now. Happy September!