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Alive_Sept_2016

Sweet September Days may be shorter and the evenings a bit cooler, but here in California, September is little more than a gentle transition into fall. Although the farmers’ market is still stocked with truckloads of vine-ripened tomatoes and sweet corn, this month marks the final days of watermelons, cantaloupe, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, and nectarines. As nature’s consolation prize, however, September brings the new crop of creamers and fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, citrus, figs, and my favorite: Bosc pears. Unlike other pear varieties, these are best eaten while still slightly firm. For the next few months they will undoubtedly be part of every cheese course I serve—sometimes drizzled with a bit of local honey for added glamour. And Bosc pears will be my first choice whenever I reach for a piece of fruit to snack on, or something special to toss into a green salad. With their long tapered necks, russeted skin, and almost sandytextured flesh, Bosc pears maintain their elegant shape when cooked, making them ideal for poaching, baking, or grilling whole or halved. I often sauté sliced pears in butter, seasoned with salt and pepper and perhaps some chopped fresh rosemary or thyme, to serve alongside roasted or grilled pork. To celebrate September, here’s an easy dessert that delivers all the goodness of pie without any of the angst. Its free-form structure eliminates the drama of easing pastry into a pie tin; blind-baking the crust; and worrying whether the edges will collapse in the oven. Known as a galette in France and a crostata in Italy, this rustic tart is something that belongs in every good cook’s repertoire. The following recipe can be tweaked to fit your mood. To the filling, toss in a few dried cherries, raisins, chopped walnuts, or sliced almonds; add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg; a teaspoon or two of finely grated fresh ginger; or a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped candied (crystallized) ginger. It’s all good. And no one will complain if you serve a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. A L I V E E A S T 30 B A Y s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 6 BOSC PEAR GALETTE 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar 2 teaspoons cornstarch Dash of salt 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 3 firm but ripe Bosc pears Buttery Pastry Dough (recipe follows), well-chilled as directed 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into bits 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 2. In a large bowl, stir together the 3 tablespoons sugar, the corn starch, and salt. Stir in the lemon juice. Working one at a time, stem the pears, peel, cut in half lengthwise, core, and cut into thin slices. Add the slices to the bowl, tossing gently to coat with the sugar mixture. 3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 13- to 14-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Do not trim the edges; they should remain slightly ragged. Loosely drape the dough around a rolling pin and transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. (If the pastry has become soft, refrigerate or freeze the cookie sheet for a few minutes until the pastry is cool.) 4. Scrape the pear mixture onto the center of the pastry, leaving a 2- to 3-inch-wide border around the edge. Scatter the butter pieces over the pears. Using your fingers, fold the pastry border up and over the edges of the filling, pleating the pastry as needed. The fruit in the center of the galette will remain uncovered. Brush the pastry edge lightly with water and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. 5. Bake until the pears are bubbly-hot and the pastry is crisp and golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Let the galette cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then use 1 or 2 wide spatulas to carefully slide it onto a wire cooling rack. Serve the galette slightly warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges with a pizza wheel or sharp knife. Serves 4 to 6. This is best served the same day it is made. MARKET FRESH I PEGGY DOHERTY FALLON


Alive_Sept_2016
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