Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pear Galette with Goat Cheese and Baklava Filling

This can be a rather expensive dessert if you have to buy all of the ingredients. I make a simple acid-coagulated, whole-milk “ricotta” from our goat milk for this dish. A slightly-tangy chevre would be even better, but I don’t always have it made in advance. A pound is a LOT, but I’ve made it with less and can’t really taste it. But use less if you must. 
You will end up with 2 crusts (or 3 if you’d like to make the galette smaller). I make this quantity because it’s easiest to add a stick of butter, then weigh out the same amount of lard on the butter wrapper. I prefer a crust made from half lard/half butter, but I’d opt for all lard rather than all butter, as a butter crust is very soft and difficult to work with, especially if it’s for a pre-baked pie crust. I render our lard from our American Guinea Hogs’ leaf fat.

About this time of year, I clean out my pantry of last year’s products and replace anything with a delicate shelf-life. This is especially true of nuts, which tend to go rancid (and I won’t store them in the freezer!). I order 5-10# bags of walnuts, pecans and almonds from Purcell Mountain Farms every year. I generally get enough fine particles from the “flaked almonds” I can sift them out for a couple batches of this galette. I prefer pecans, but I’m out until I order more. This was mostly almonds with some walnuts added.

I use a lot of Chinese 5-spice powder around here! Pumpkin-pie spice or plain cinnamon is an acceptable substitute if you don’t keep 5-spice on hand or want to mix your own. If you don’t have pineapple sage in your garden, just skip it. It is a mint that tastes pretty much exactly like pineapple. If you have other favorite herbs that are complimentary to sweet dishes, feel free to use them in small amounts – like mint, holy basil, rosemary. We happen to have tons of pears right now – substitute apples for the pears if you prefer.

And sorry for not weighing out all the ingredients. I’m just not going to do it for single-serving recipes using such tiny amounts of some things. Weights are provided for some ingredients, like flour and butter.

Prepare crust. This is enough to roll about 14” round  (or 15”x12” rectangular) and will make 2 crusts – one for now, one for later. It is imperative that the ingredients be COLD, especially the lard. I weigh out what I need and set the lard (and the bowl containing the flour mix) in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes before adding it to the flour mix. You should be able to chop the lard with a knife without it melting.

Crust: (Makes 2)
*3 cups (425 g) all-purpose flour
*3 tablespoons sugar
*3/4 teaspoon salt
*1/2 pound (225 g) butter/lard or combo
*1/2-3/4 cup cold water
*Egg wash: 2 egg yolks with a few drops of water added
-Make the pie crust the usual way, divide the dough in half, flatten them into disks, wrap them in plastic wrap or put them in a plastic bag. Roll out just before using.

Pear Filling (apples may be used):
*4 large pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
*Juice/zest of ½ a small lemon
*1” piece ginger, peeled and grated
*3 tablespoons brown sugar
*3/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon vanilla
*2 tablespoons pineapple sage, finely chopped
*splash sweet wine or cider (just enough to moisten ingredients)

Baklava Filling (reserve ¼ cup final product for topping):
*2 cups raw nuts (walnut, pecan, almond, pine nuts), any combination, chopped finely
(This will give you about 1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts)
*1/4 cup (40 g) brown sugar
*1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
*1/4 teaspoon salt

Additional ingredients:
*1 pound (450 g) whole-milk ricotta or feta cheese
*1/4 cup (appx) honey/maple syrup
*1 tablespoon pineapple sage, finely chopped
*Reserved ¼ cup Baklava for topping

Preheat oven to 425. Roll out crust, adding as much flour as necessary to keep from sticking. Transfer to parchment paper for final rolling and shaping. Brush dough with egg wash. Transfer parchment to a baking sheet or peel. Layer ingredients onto dough in the following order:

*Ricotta Cheese
*Pineapple Sage
*Baklava Filling
*Drizzle on Honey/Maple Syrup
*Pear Filling
*Remaining Baklava Filling (1/4 cup)

Fold dough over edge of filling. Apply egg wash to edges of dough. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Raise oven heat to 450 and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until edges are brown. Remove parchment from baking sheet and place on rack to cool. For best results, let cool completely before cutting. Serve with Crème Anglaise or Vanilla Ice Cream, if desired.