Sunday Family Day Part Deux, Apples, Pear Tart and Hard Cider

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“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.

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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

Directions:

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.

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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

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Ingredients for one nine inch tart

One sheet Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets

Four Pears

2 ounces Butter

1 c. Powdered Sugar

Directions

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.

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Artichoke and Goat Cheese Tarte Tatin Recipe

Artichoke Tarte Tatin

Chef François de Mélogue, the still unnamed restaurant in La Quinta

Ingredients for four servings:

1 each                       Red Bell Pepper

1 each                       Onion

1 each                       Fennel

4 each                       globe Artichokes

¼ cup                        Olive Oil

1 each                       Lemon, washed

2 ounces                   fresh Goat Cheese

1 ounce                    grated Parmesan

4 each                      Puff Pastry Circles (cut same diameter as tart pan)

Directions:

Julienne red pepper, onion and fennel, then sauté till tender.  You will have more than you need for four tarts.  Peel artichokes using a sharp paring knife carefully cutting around the bottom.  Continue trimming artichoke bottom till all the outer leaves are removed and there are no more green spots.  Use a spoon to scoop out the choke.  Cook the four bottoms in salted water mixed with olive oil and sliced lemon.   The lemon helps keep the artichoke from oxidizing.  The artichokes are cooked when a paring knife easily pierces the bottoms.  Remove and chill.

Sprinkle a little olive oil into the bottoms of four small tart pans, about four inches in diameter.  Slice each artichoke thinly and lay in bottom of tart pan.  Top with a tablespoon of julienned vegetable and ½ ounce of goat cheese.  Sprinkle parmesan over.  Then lay puff pastry circle over, pressing the edges firmly around the tart.  Bake at 450 till golden brown, about 12 minutes.  Invert onto warm plate.  Spoon olive emulsion on top, drizzle some basil oil around and enjoy.

Olive Emulsion

1/4 cup                    chopped pitted Niçoise Olives

3 each                     Egg Yolks

1/2 teaspoon          Black Pepper

2 tablespoons         Lemon Juice

1 cup                       Olive Oil

Directions:

Mix chopped olives with egg yolks, black pepper and lemon juice.  Whisk over boiling water in a stainless steel bowl till light and creamy.  Slowly whisk in olive oil.  Adjust seasoning and spoon over cooked tarts.

Basil Oil

1 bunch                   Basil

2 cloves                   Garlic

3 Tablespoons         Olive Oil

Directions:

Puree everything in your food processor.  The basil oil should be thinner than pesto when finished.

Chef Notes:

The artichoke Tarte Tatin is a playful dish based on the classic French Apple Tart.  Artichokes are always a hard vegetable to pair with wine.  Claudia Springs Viognier seamlessly marries with the rich flavors of olive emulsion and basil oil and provided an interesting foil to the goat cheese.