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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Pie and a Galette...Who Could Ask for Anything More?

It was eight o’clock on Saturday morning.  I was coffee-less and challenged to an eight hour pie baking stint.  I figured that if I could make it through the whole class without passing out in my pie dough, I would deem the day a success (low standards were necessary at this point in the day).

Lucky for me, and all my future pie eaters, I did not fall asleep in my pie dough (nor in the filling).  We began the class by tackling the illusive pie crust…which must be both tender AND flaky.  The crust recipe we used was  for a traditional all butter pie crust (opposed to one that includes oil or shortening), called “Pate Brisee”.  It was a quick dough to get together, but also easy to over-work and make tough.  Ironically, the best crusts of the day were the ones made in the KitchenAid mixer, and not by hand (it pains me to even write that!).

I already adore pies...and when fruit is involved, they are one of my all-time favorite desserts.  For class, I baked a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, made interesting by the addition of crystallized ginger and an almond topping. 

While we are on the subject of strawberries, the below picture is a side by side comparison of a strawberry from the farmer's market (small and cute with a smooth, tender flesh) compared to a strawberry from the grocery store (huge and strangely crunchy.

Strawberry mutants aside, I think that strawberry-rhubarb is one of the best flavor combinations...ever.  The bright, tart rhubarb melts with the sweet berries to create a taste that rivals even Mary Poppins in the perfection department.

After baking the pie, and feeling overly proud and accomplished, I realized I still had five hours left to bake.  After briefly contemplating a nap in the corner, I got up and made frangipane (naturally).  Frangipane is an almond filling that bakes up sort of puffy and is often times accompanied by pears or other fruits in tarts. 

With the frangipane in arms reach (quite a good place for it to be), I needed a vehicle to drive it around.  So, I made another Pate Brisee crust, put some frangipane in the center, topped it with fruit (a mixture of apple, and assorted berries with some lemon zest), and folded up the edges to make a lovely, rustic Galette.   I love how scrumptious all the fruit looks, yum.

The line up of desserts that day was quite impressive.


Mary said...

i loooove the new design. great colors!

Celia Slattery said...

Hi Becky
Your mom's here and showed me your blog...looks YUMMY!