Baking | Savoury Chicken Galette … Cherry Tomato with Green Garlic Pesto & Roasted Veggies with Smoked Sea Salt {Baking with Julia}

“Ingredients are not sacred. The art of cuisine is sacred.”
Tanith Tyrr

Savoury Chicken GaletteIt was a savoury chicken galette waiting to happen, or maybe wanting to be baked. It’s a result of blogger interactions, loads of food talk, some food cravings, events missed and repented, flavours virtually thrown into the air and talked about….Savoury Chicken GaletteI missed a picnic a few weeks ago with the Delhi food bloggers bunch. There was so much talk about food, what who was making, baking, getting,  that I had pangs …not hunger pangs but pangs of missing out on something good!  The Great Cookaroo threw in yolks after yolks to make her to go pastry cream from Dorie Greenspans Baking with Julia. I had the book on the shelf. A favourite from a favourite food blogger who gifted it to me from Bangalore. {Thank you again Suma!}

Savoury Chicken Galette Then there was talk of pickled green garlic pesto which immediately threw my tastebuds in overdrive … that sounded drop dead delicious. I wanted some! My chance soon came as a bunch of us met again at the Ty.phoo Tea & Food pairing eventSangeeta  carried a bottle of pickled green garlic pesto for me.

Savoury Chicken Galette with green garlic pestoSmothered on a toast the next morning, it had a comforting homey feel! It had all the hints of the green chutney sandwiches my dad often made … beautiful flavours that teased the palette. As I sat in the kitchen, the laundry machine whirring punishingly in the background, I reached out for Baking with Julia! The book is a winner. Read it, bake from it, drool over it, learn from it. I wanted to bake something savoury that morning, and settled for Cheese & Tomato Galette!

Savoury Chicken Galette The galette dough was done in seconds, a Flo Baker recipe from the book. Don’t you love a dough that comes together in a heartbeat, is fuss free, smooth, pliable and uses pantry staples? I didn’t even need to rest it since it held beautifully, winter ensuring a fridge like cold kitchen. {Feedback from batch #2: An overnight rest in the fridge yields a pliable nice dough too.}

Savoury Chicken Galette I used everything I had on hand! Pickled green garlic pesto, mozzarella, chicken salami, then some roasted onion balsamic jam, cherry tomatoes, smoked sea salt, pepper. Finished it off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic greens.

Savoury Chicken GaletteThe green garlic pesto was a bit spicy / chili for the younger fellow, but hit all the right spots with the daughter and husband who love everything chili! You can find the recipe for the Pickled Green Garlic Pesto {or lehsun ka achaar} on Sangeeta’s blog. Use extra virgin olive oil to get a more pesto like feel to it {as she did for my batch}, and reduce the chilies if you don’t like it too hot! BTW, Sangeeta does great personalised  diet plans too, so do stop by if you need one!

Savoury Chicken Galette You can do pretty much anything with a ‘pastry canvas’ like this. To keep the younger one happy, I made a second lot with roasted bell peppers and onions {roasting done in the Philips AirFryer, 10 minutes was all it took}, topped with sliced chicken sausages marinated briefly in a honey-mustard-garlic mix. Keep it vegetarian with roasted veggies, caramelised onion & garlic jam and feta, maybe tomatoes.  It’s smooth, fun to roll out, and even more fun to ruffle over the filling to give it the characteristic galette feel.

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Baking | Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake … a winning Dorie Greenspan recipe

“Better late than never.
Titus Livius

Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake, Dorie GreenspanI wish I had made the apple cake earlier, but I’m SO GLAD I made it when I did!  It made for the best dessert we’ve had in a while … fresh baked, almost steaming hot, a cake which unbelievingly delivered perfect light as cloud slices. I added a scraped vanilla bean to the batter, and flaked almonds on top. Despite the cake going through 2 LONG power outages, it still came out slam dunk delicious!  That was the first time I made it. I decided to make it again a few days ago, this time as petit fours in individual dessert rings {from my little shop in Old Delhi}, pictured above.Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake, Dorie Greenspan bookGuess what? Yes, power outage again!! Felt like I was on a mission to test this particular cake to its limits. I do bake a lot, an understatement maybe, and rarely face power outages these days. Not this instance though. The cake won the ‘battle of power outage’ again. Everything about Marie Helen’s Apple Cake is wonderful & well balanced – the fruit, the texture, the sweetness, the lightness; above all the power to satisfy. It’s a designated winner in my book; one which I will make over and over again.

Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake, Dorie Greenspan book I’m pretty sure most of you have baked it in the last few months. If like me, you haven’t, the time is now. Do yourself a favour. Been reading about it on just about every blog under the sun since Dorie’s new book Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours’ hit the stands. Saw a zillion folk bake it for the  French Fridays with Dorie group, and most came out with a wonderful review. I wonder what kept me from baking it sooner?Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake, Dorie Greenspan bookThen Pamela mentioned it over lunch at the French Pastry Festivals Le Cordon Blue workshop, singing praises of it. I had it on my mind ever since. Dreamt of it that night, yes I have ‘sweet dreams’. I  knew it was what I wanted to make for dessert the afternoon as my nephew was coming over for lunch. Life isn’t that easy, and my menu was based on bakes… Chicken, Mushroom & Roasted Pepper Juliene, Buttermilk Cluster Bread and an apple cake. I managed to do all of this at breakneck speed as the power was horribly erratic. Each time I popped the cake in, blink, power cut. It baked in 3 20 minute intervals, with gaps of an hour in between, still came out fabulous. By the time lunch was served, it had baked for the 3rd time … resulting  in a nice warm cake for dessert. I let it sit for 10 minutes in the tin, before slicing it.

Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake, Dorie Greenspan bookWhat a charmer the cake is. Elegant, fuss free, light, delicately flavoured … in one word PERFECT! Very simple to make too. I did read some reviews on Epicurious about increasing flour because of pooling butter etc, but that didn’t happen with me. It was well set and firm after an hour of intermittent baking, and even though I used a 9″ tin instead of an 8″ one, it still looked quite good. I think flaked almonds added a nice touch to the top, and yes, the scraped vanilla bean added beautiful flavour throughout. Vanilla bean is now my favourite baking ingredient and I am so glad India grows some of the finest vanilla beans now. I have had the pleasure of receiving a box of Ecopsice Bourbon vanilla beans from Mia, and they are excellent.

Marie-Hélène’s Apple CakeMarie-Hélène’s Apple Cake
Minimally adapted from Epicurious
Recipe by Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes From My Home to Yours
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples {if you can, choose 4 different kinds}
2 large eggs
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 vanilla bean,scraped
1/4 cup slivered almonds
100gms unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake, Dorie Greenspan book
Method:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 180C. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan, or 12 individual dessert rings bottoms lined/sealed with aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put the springform/ or dessert rings on it.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks {cut them slightly smaller for individual bakes}.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and scarped vanilla bean.
Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter.
Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan/rings and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s evenish. Sprinkle the top with slivered almonds.
Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes. {Individual dessert rings baked for about 30 minutes}.
Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. {Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren’t any apples stuck to it.}
Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature.
If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake, Dorie Greenspan bookServing: The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Hélène’s served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination. {The cake reheats very well too in the microwave}
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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I want to thank all my readers for taking the time to vote for me at the Blog of the Year contest on Blog Revue. Blog Revue Winner 2010-2011I am really happy that I won.

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Baking | Dorie Greenspans PEAR VANILLA & ALMOND FRANGIPANE TART … Thanksgiving

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”
Henry Van Dyke

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartI really haven’t had time enough to despair that stone fruit disappeared so soon. Even before I could sit back and lament that a good season had passed us rather quickly, the market was flooded with pip fruit. Pip fruit? Yes indeed, fruit of fall or autumn – apples, pears – any fruit with a ‘pip’! We’ve had a bumper crop of apples in the Himalayan belt, and that means a virtual explosion of native fruit on the shelves in the bazaar!Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartPears, apples, naqs {small Chinese pear I think} are literally rolling off shelves, tempting you to buy them. I found some great looking pears the other day, bought 4 and rushed home. I had a tart in mind – A Pear Frangipane Tart from Dorie Greenspans book Baking From My Home to Yours. That book was a winner in it’s own right, and a few years ago, saw an online baking group Tuesdays with Dorie get formed. Dorie recently released book Around My French Table is currently creating waves in the culinary world, and is on my wishlist. It’s a pleasure to see blogs from across the world enthusiastically ‘cooking the book!’ Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartThe lady herself is a pleasure to meet as I have enviably heard from so many of my twitter friends who have attended her latest book signing tour across the Americas. She seems so down to Earth, large hearted and FUN! About this particular tart, when I tweeted about how much I loved it, she replied…

doriegreenspan: @vindee I learned to make the pear-almond tart more than 20 years ago and everytime I’ve made it since, it transports me to France. {Original Tweet: http://twitter.com/doriegreenspan/statuses/29275428767}

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartThere is a childlike exuberance in what I read about her, and that reflects in her recipes. They are warm, they are doable, they are from the heart. I used a part of Dorie’s recipe in these Apple Cinnamon Walnut Parcels. Was a wonder that something so simple could taste so special! I have a hunch she loves fall, because her repertoire has some quintessential fall recipes … endearing, warming, comforting! The house smelt of a boulangerie as this tart baked … cinnamon wafted through the kitchen into the living room, carrying with it the rich aromas of the butter tart. I was immediately transported the the streets of Paris, a city I long to visit, to sit at a road side cafe, a rustic boulangerie, enjoy a pain chocolat or crosissant, a pie slice, an apple turnover … with espresso!Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartThere was everything good about the tart. I ♥ frangipane, though I am still egg-phobic to some extent, so I added a scraped vanilla bean to the tart base or the pâte sablée. In my hurry to get it into the oven, I misread the recipe and forgot to bake it blind! I just chilled the unbaked shell in the freezer after lining my tart pan, and then turned the frangipane into it, topped it with the sliced poached pears and baked it.  Was still as good a crust as could be. Maybe I discovered a short cut. Maybe? {The recipe might look a little long, but if you poach the fruit in advance, it’s quick!}

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartThe tart has all the possible warm and comforting flavours about it. As we were virtually talking a short while ago, a group of my foodie friends on Yahoo food groups decided to do a linky post for Thanksgiving {Amanda’s brilliant idea}, and I wasn’t too sure I would fit in.

Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving was a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation to God, family and friends for which all have been blessed of material possessions and relationships. Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. This holiday has since moved away from its religious roots.

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane Tart I thought this just might fit in; time to give thanks to our bountiful harvest of pip fruit this fall. More importantly to express thankfulness for being here, being able to enjoy food and blogging, for being able to get healthy and delicious food to our table. Appreciation for all the inspiration that food blogs and cookbooks offer every single day! I am truly grateful for all of this … and also to Dorie for this fantastic recipe! We LOVED it!

This tart is another entry for the Monthly Mingle that I am guest hosting for my spicy-sweet friend Meeta. If you are BAKING WITH FRUIT this month, do send it in to Monthly Mingle posted HERE. You have until the 22nd of November to get the entries in!

Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartPear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane Tart
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
Makes one 9-inch tart {I made a 10″ tart}
Pâte Sablée
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered vanilla sugar / confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoon butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolkPear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane Tart Poached Pears
4 ripe medium pears
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 cinnamon stick
5-6 cloves
1 vanilla bean scraped
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1 vanilla bean scraped {or 1 tsp vanilla extract}
1 teaspoons almond extract
For the pears :
Combine the water, sugar, lime juice, cinnamon stick, cloves, vanilla bean including scraped portion, and salt in a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, cut the pears in half, remove the seed core and fibrous cores at either end, then peel the pears.
Add the pear halves to the simmering syrup and reduce heat to low. Cover, and let pears poach for about 10 minutes, turning them halfway. The pears will become slightly translucent, very tender, and easily pierced with a knife or skewer. {Make sure they don’t get overstewed}
Let the pears cool in the liquid until room temperature before using; or, you can store them in their liquid in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Pear, Vanilla and Almond Frangipane TartFor the tart shell
Put the flour, vanilla sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of cold butter and pulse until the butter is cut into pea-sized pieces. Add the egg yolk and combine in several pulses until the dough starts to turn from dry to clumpy. Do not let the dough form one giant ball or it will be be overworked – just keep checking after every pulse and when the dough pieces looks like they will stick when you press them together, stop.
Tart shell:
Butter a 9-in tart tin with removable bottom. Turn the dough out into the tin and press into the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. You probably will not need all the dough – save the extra for patching the shell after you bake it. Do not press the dough too hard or it will become tough – just enough for it to form to the tin.
Freeze the tart shell for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 190C.
To partially bake the tart shell, take a piece of foil and butter the shiny side, then press the buttered side tightly to the shell. You do not need pie weights. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, until the shell is dry and lightly colored. If any places have cracked, repair with the extra dough. Let cool on a rack until room temperature.
For the frangipane:
Combine the butter and sugar in the food processor and combine until smooth. Add the ground almonds and blend together. Add the flour and cornstarch, and then the scraped innards of the vanilla bean, almond extract, egg and egg white. Process the mixture until it is very smooth.The frangipane can be used immediately or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If it becomes too firm in the fridge, let it sit at room temperature for a while to soften before using.
To finish the tart:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Spread the frangipane evenly into the cooled tart shell {It should be liquid enough to smooth out on its own so you don’t need to work to much on it}.
Take the poached pears out of their liquid and drain them on paper towels. You don’t want too much excess liquid or they will make the frangipane soggy. Cut each pear half crosswise into 3/8 in thick slices. Do not separate the pear half yet.
Slide a spatula or other flat utensil underneath the pear so you can transfer the entire half onto the tart. Press on the pear to fan the slices toward the top narrow end of the pear.
Slide the pear half onto the frangipane carefully – you can move the pear after you place it, but not much.
Repeat with the other pear halves until they are evenly spaced.
Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, until the frangipane is puffed, golden brown, and firm to the touch. Cool the tart on a wire rack.

Before serving, you can brush the pears with some warmed apple jelly to glaze, or dust confectioner’s sugar over the tart. {As you can see, I didn’t have time to do that. I set the timer for the tart to bake, and rushed off on ‘driver’ duty!}

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