Well, things are wild around here with our moving preparations making this huge change seem more and more real. I fear the day when everything is finally in boxes and I will not be able to retreat to my warm little kitchen to cook my moving-anxieties away. Until then… there are more Thanksgiving recipes to be tested, and some exciting news: The Brookline Patch has asked me to contribute recipes for using Thanksgiving leftovers. So stay tuned for those, coming next week!
This dessert, adapted from the pages of Bon Appetit’s November issue is the very definition of rustic. The free-form crust laced with cornmeal, large chunks of fruit and drizzled-honey topping are wonderfully unpretentious and quite filling actually. I vote that this ‘dessert’ could easily be a breakfast or light lunch, perhaps with some soft goat cheese and a cup of hot tea.
Pear Crostata with Figs and Honey, Bon Appetit, November 2010
The only real change I made here, was substituting Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks for the butter. I did a straight substituion, but you could also try using half Earth Balance shortening.
1 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes(or vegan margarine)
3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon (scant) ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 1/4 pounds firm but ripe unpeeled Anjou pears (about 4), cored, each cut into 8 wedges
10 dried but moist Calimyrna figs (about 4 ounces), stemmed, quartered
Heavy whipping cream/soy creamer (for brushing)
2 tablespoons honey
Special equipment: Rimless baking sheet (mine had rims — no big deal since the crostata fit inside once I folded the edged over)
Blend first 4 ingredients in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Remove lid; spoon 3 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Return lid to processor; using on/off turns, blend mixture until dough forms ball, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Flatten dough into disk; wrap in plastic and chill at least 20 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Whisk first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add pears and figs; toss gently.
Roll dough out on lightly floured parchment to 14-inch square or round. Transfer parchment with rolled-out crust to rimless baking sheet. Mound pear mixture with juices in center of crust, leaving 2- to 3-inch plain dough border.
Using parchment as aid, fold dough up over edges of pear mixture, pleating edges and pinching to seal any cracks in dough, forming square or round. Brush crust edges with cream; sprinkle generously with raw sugar.
Bake crostata until crust is golden, pears are tender, and juices are bubbling thickly, covering crust edges with foil if browning too quickly, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove crostata from oven; drizzle 2 tablespoons honey over hot filling. Run long thin knife or spatula around edges of warm crostata to loosen. Cool crostata on parchment on baking sheet until slightly warm, at least 1 hour. Transfer to platter. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.