Tag Archives: Organic Black Peppercorns

Poached Pear Tart

This recipe is compliments of Chef Michael Montgomery an instructor at the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder Colorado. I took a Basic Cooking Techniques class from him last spring and really enjoyed it. The crunchy shortbread crust marries well with the soft poached pear and light whipped cream. The original recipe calls for apples and red wine, but I have substituted pears. If white wine doesn’t ring your bell, you can replace it with 2 cups water and 2 cups Grand Marnier or rum and fresh grated ginger.

Poached Pear Tart

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • Crust
  • 14 oz butter approx 28 Tablespoons
  • 6 oz sugar scant 3/4 cup
  • 1 egg
  • 16 oz all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Filling
  • 8 firm not quite ripe pears, peeled
  • 4 cups light white wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 organic cinnamon sticks
  • 4 organic whole cloves
  • 4 organic black peppercorns
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 orange quartered
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp organic ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds for garnish

Instructions

  1. Crust
  2. Cream butter and sugar together
  3. Add vanilla, salt and egg. Mix until just combined
  4. Add flour and mix until just combined
  5. Press dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  7. Roll and press dough into a tart pan (about 1/8" thick).
  8. Prick the crust thoroughly with a fork.
  9. Line the crust with foil and add pie weights to the foil.
  10. Remove the pie weights and continue baking for 3-5 minutes longer.
  11. Cool crust before filling.
  12. Poached Pear Filling (enough for 2 pies)
  13. Combine wine, sugar, spices and orange in saucepan large enough to hold the pears in a single layer. Slice vanilla bean down the center length-wise and add to the wine sauce. Bring to a simmer. Add 4 pears and poach until they are soft throughout, but not mushy (approx 15 minutes). Remove pears from the pan and cool on a rack. Repeat with the remaining 4 pears.

  14. Reduce the wine mixture until it is smooth and sauce like.
  15. Whip the cream in a cold bowl until almost firm. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and nutmeg. Whisk until firm.
  16. Slice the pears, and place them decoratively in the pre-baked tart shell, drizzle with the wine sauce, and top with a dollop of cream.
  17. Garnish with toasted almonds and serve immediately.

Potatoes Dauphinois

I took the Basic Cooking Techniques class taught by Chef Michael Montgomery at the Culinary School of the Rockies. This five day class covers every thing from sourcing food ingredients and basic knife skills, to basic cooking skills including blanching, braising, grilling, roasting, and deglazing. Chef Michael, shares his passion for good food and people through entertaining stories of french culinary school and restaurant life. He begins each day slowly with a cup of coffee and a review of the days menu, techniques covered, and timing of the preparation of specific recipes. The pace builds throughout the day to a hectic frenzy as all the students coordinate the timing of each tasty dish. The day culminates with a lovely sit down dinner. Wine is poured, the pace slows and everyone relaxes and tastes, critiques, and enjoys the creations of the day. The conversation bubbles with enthusiasm, stories emerge and strangers become friends.  I learned alot about cooking in this class, but I think the most important lesson was to slow down, and relax and savor that which you have created.

Potatoes Dauphinois, was one of my favorite side dishes from the course. It is exceptionally good for entertaining, since it can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving, simplifying the chaos of orchestrating a perfectly timed meal.

If you are concerned about fat consumption, cut the cream with chicken stock. The resulting recipe isn’t as rich as the original recipe, but still very tasty.

Potatoes Dauphinois

Course Side
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs potatoes 1/8" slices
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1 tbsp organic black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp organic thyme dried
  • 2 organic bay leaves dried
  • 2 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter at room temperature
  • Panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Generously butter a 2-1/2 to 3 quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish.
  3. Make a bouquet garni by wrapping thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a square of cheese cloth and securing with string.
  4. In a heavy 6 quart saucepan, combine potatoes, bouquet garni, salt, garlic, cloves, and cream. Set over moderate heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes can be pierced with a fork (about 10 minutes). Using slotted spoon, remove bouquet garni and garlic and discard.
  5. Spread potato mixture in buttered dish and sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs. Bake until top is brown and potatoes are tender (about 30 to 40 minutes). Let stand 15 minutes before serving.