The inspiration for this yummy experience is a recipe in Mary Karlin’s Artisan Cheese Making at Home. Mary taught the artisan cheese class I recently took at Pantry at Delancey. I bought her book but truthfully I will probably make very few of the cheeses. I have to stick to the simple cheese: ricotta, paneer, crème freche, marscapone. Maybe a cream cheese. The more complicated cheeses require special cheese making supplies, and more critically, a climate controlled environment (temp and humidity) that I just don’t currently have. But, also in her beautiful book is a final chapter with some delicious looking recipes. This is basically her recipe with a few changes based on what I had on hand and what seemed more up my alley.
In making this I had to figure out the best application: is it a dessert? An appetizer perhaps. It is sweet and savory and a pastry. Fortunately there was just enough left over that I could test it cast as all these characters. As a course in a big meal it loses its identity, though as a side with a simple soup and salad it does OK. Can hold its own. As an appetizer with a lovely glass of red wine (i.e. my kind of dinner) it was perfect. But if you are serving a big dinner or have other things you want to equally showcase maybe not so much. It is pretty filling and will be a hard act to follow. Now warmed for brunch, with a nicely steamed latte: perfect. Go for it. Or, like me, you can start with it for something else and enjoy it for breakfast afterward until you run out. It keeps well for many days once wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.
I will do this again but will try it with apples next time. A tart variety I think. It was lovely with the pears but I want to see how it does with apples. Note: if using apples probably peel them. I left the skin on the Bosc pears and it just melted in with the rest but for other pear varieties with chewier skins you might want to take them off.
The simple syrup glaze laced with cardamom, rosemary and a little maple syrup was so good and I had left over which I used in my lattes along with the pastry for breakfast. It was the perfect marriage. Who says they don’t exist? In fact, I’ve been rather intrigued by the possibilities of flavored simple syrups as a result. Yesterday evening, at Stopsky’s Deli, Mercer Island, happy hour, Andy order a gin and tonic with celery simple syrup. It was amazing. We got to talking about trying to create our own. I’m even thinking I may have finally figured out a use for all these strange spices I brought back from the Middle East and haven’t figured out what to do with. So stay tuned. There may be a coming blog entry on simple syrups. But for now I give you: Blue Cheese, Pancetta and Pear Gallette!
What you need:
Dough:- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup almond flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces then chilled
- About ¾ cup ice water
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 to 4 ounces pancetta, cut crosswise into narrow strips
- 1 yellow onion, halved, then thinly sliced lengthwise into strips
- 3 large shallots, thinly sliced lengthwise into strips
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 large pears, cored, and cut into 12 wedges each
- 3 ounces blue cheese cut into thin wedges
Glaze:- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
Early in the day put together the dough so it can rest in the refrigerator. Combine the flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Using a fork and knife or pastry cutter, cut the small pieces of butter into the flour until the pieces of butter are pea sized and consistently distributed throughout. First add about six tablespoons of the ice water, gently tossing with a fork. Then, gradually add the rest of the ice water, gently tossing with a spoon just until the dough hold together and there are no dry ingredients left. Gather into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and put into the fridge.
(I also prep the filling part early because it makes the house smell so good, you can get the kitchen mostly cleaned up and focus on other parts of your meal before final assembly which you should start about an hour before you want to serve it.)
In a large skillet heat the olive oil and add the pancetta pieces. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the pancetta is crispy and the fat rendered. Remove the pancetta onto a paper towel to drain. Discard about 1/3 of the drippings, then add the onions and shallots to the skillet with the drippings. Cook over medium heat until lightly caramelized. Set aside.
In another bowl combine the fresh ground cardamom with the maple syrup and vanilla. Add the pear slices and let marinate in this syrup mixture in the fridge until ready to eat. I used Bosc pears. (Hint: since bosc pears are firmer than other pears when ripe, the way I tell if it is ripe is to look at the stem end. Just at the base of the stem the skin should be dark and puckered. Not mushy at that end but not smooth. If it is smooth and not wrinkly the pear will still be bitter. Just wrinkly is just right.)
Make the glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the glaze ingredients. Bring to a low boil and cook until the sugar is melted and the glaze is slightly thick. About ten minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temp.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Working on parchment paper, roll out the dough circle into roughly a 14 inch circle. Lift the parchment with the circle onto a baking sheet. Mix the fried pancetta pieces and caramelized onion and spread them onto the center of the dough, leaving clear a two-inch border around the outside of the circle. Drain the liquid off the pear wedges and arrange decoratively in a circle around the top of the bacon/onion layer, overlapping as needed. Fill in the center with small pieces of pear.
Moving around the tart, fold the edges of the dough toward the center and over the filling, pleating it as you go. Place on the lower rack of the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Top with the wedges of blue cheese in the middle section that is exposed. Bake another approximately 10 minutes until the crust is crispy and very golden and the pears are caramelized.
As the last baking phase is taking place rewarm the glaze. When the tart comes out of the oven brush the glaze over the top of the galette with a pastry brush. Let cool for 15 minutes. Then cut and serve.