“It was definitely a Sunday tart, gazed at with admiration and eaten with relish on those Sunday noons, with the narrow street outside on the same level as the room and the sky purplish-blue when the weather was stormy, or aflicker with gold when the sun was shining.” – Proust
How could I not make it? We began the day with the chief goal of not leaving the house and enjoying the bounty of foods bought from small farmer’s and ranchers at the Palm Springs Farmer’s Market the day before. By eight a.m. we were dunking slabs of Phillippe’s rustic boule slathered in hand-beaten French butter into our plate of Oeufs a la Coque, made from De La Ranch eggs cooked precisely three minutes. Beaumont was intent on copying our actions verbatim, deliberately piercing the runny yolk with his bread spear splashing saffron hued eggs onto his fingers and plate. He seemed like a miniature gourmand trapped inside a small child’s body frustrated by the new bodies inability to follow the old minds thought. For a flashing moment I saw Beau as an old man deliberately enjoying his meal.
I looked over to the wall of books in our dining room and “Dining with Proust” just caught my attention as if it were meant to be. I flipped through the pages and immediately stopped on this line:
“The chief reason for going to the farm when they felt the need of a little refreshment was a wish to see her and to be in her home, much as some people frequent certain restaurants, though the reason they give may be that the cider is better there than elsewhere or the cheese particularly good.”
That line set about a catalyst of food dreams inspired by books needing to become realities. The first food dream manifested itself as apples bought from the Asian woman at the market stuffed with a mixture of leeks, creme fraiche and goat cheese. Lisa and I both read Rue Tatin by Susan Loomis. Rue Tatin is the kind of book that is so graphically written that you feel like you are there eating with her at her home in Normandy.Ultimately Lisa, Beau and I will live in France and this book accelerates the process.
Baked Apples stuffed with Leeks and Goat Cheese (paraphrased from Susan Loomis)
4 Apples, I used Fuji – peel and core creating a large cavity to stuff
5.5 ounces fresh Goat Cheese
2 T. Creme Fraiche
2 Leeks – use mostly just the white part. I cut into large dice and soaked in salted water to remove dirt and grit that hides in the layers
4 T Butter
2 cups hard Cider
Saute washed leeks in two tablespoons of butter till super tender. You want to cook the leeks slow so they do not color. Mix with goat cheese and creme fraiche. Pour into apple cavity. Top with remaining butter. Put into baking dish with cider and cook for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Enjoy with a beautiful green salad.
After a long walk in the Desert with Lucy we rested and prepared for round two.
Proust’s Pear Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Ingredients for one nine inch tart
One sheet Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets
2 ounces Butter
1 c. Powdered Sugar
Roll puff pastry sheet out slightly larger on a floured surface. It should drape over your tart tin by two inches. Fold over edge and crimp with fingers. Quarter pears and remove core with paring knife. Cut each quarter in half and arrange in a circular pattern in tart shell. Brush pears with melted butter and sprinkle with half of the powdered sugar. Bake at 400 till tart is brown and pears are lightly browned. Cool slightly, sprinkle with remaining sugar and serve with powdered sugar.