As you know, I’m a big fan of Ellie Krieger and her James Beard nominated book, The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life. Since my recent food focus has been a little more health-conscious, I’ve been thinking about hitting her cookbook hard. After all, I own it, so why shouldn’t I cook more from it?
As I was searching around the web for more about Ellie, I came across an Ellie cooking fan club of sorts. Every week someone on the blog list chooses an Ellie recipe from her cookbook. Everyone in the group makes it then posts their results on their own respective blogs.
Every well-known chef these days seem to have their own blogging groupies: Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, has a group called the Barefoot Bloggers. Dorie Greenspan has her own Tuesdays with Dorie group. One very intrepid (and perhaps masochist) cook loves the French Laundry so much that she went through its entire cookbook from cover to cover. Foodies and wannabes everywhere tuned in to her blog with fascination and applause as she did. As soon as she was finished, she picked up Grant Achatz’s Alinea.
And there are others out there, hungry for more.
Get it? They’re hungry for mo— You’re right. I’m sorry.
Personally, I love the idea of group blogs, which is why CC and I started AwK. I’d be interested in joining up with some intrepid food groupies, but finding a group that’s right for me has been difficult. I love to bake, so I considered getting in with the Dorie group back when they were still accepting members. The downside to that group is everyone has to bake the required dessert every other week, and that’s the minimum. With only two people in my house, that’s a lot of dessert to either eat or put down the garbage disposal. There’s Ina Garten, but I don’t know much about her except that she’s got a slew of food products and her own show on the Food Network — I tried sitting through an episode once, but it was like taking a few Vicodin and watching Nascar in slow motion and without sound. At least Rachel Ray keeps yapping through her thirty minutes.
The other option would be to join the Ellie Krieger group, but I just can’t past the name: Craving Ellie in my Belly.
Perhaps Dr. Lecter would like a membership.
According to Ellie’s website, she’s coming out with a new cookbook soon, called So Easy: Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week. If there’s a group out there that wants to go through this book, but doesn’t want to put Ms. Krieger into anyone’s belly, I’ll probably join it. In the meantime, I think I’m on my own.
This week, I went with the Rustic Pear Tart. It’s got a whole wheat crust and simple honey glaze on the top. Each slice is only 200 calories and 8 grams of fat.
My spouse alerted me early on that he doesn’t like pears. It’s probably for the best, because this was so good I ate half of it in one day.
Rustic Pear Tart
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
1/2 cup whole-grain pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons lowfat buttermilk
3 tablespoons ice water
3 medium pears
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon boiling water
What I changed on this was the method of dough making. The original recipe calls for whisking the dry ingredients then gently blending with a fork until the dough forms small pebbles then slowly pouring the buttermilk and water and gradually combining…
Screw that. I went with ye olde food processor.
In a food processor, pulse together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and butter until the butter is fully cut up and chunks are no longer visible.
Even after the butter is spread evenly, it ends up looking like dry powder.
In a small bowl combine the buttermilk and ice water. Pour into the processor bowl and pulse until combined. Pat the dough into a 4-inch round and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
That’s no offense to the old fashioned way, but that way takes about 25 minutes, and mine takes 5.
My way wins.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and prepare the filling. Peel the pears, core them and cut into 1/4-inch slices. In a large bowl toss the pear slices with the lemon juice. Sprinkle in the cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon and toss until the pears are evenly coated. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a large circle about 9 inches in diameter. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and draping the dough over the rolling pin, transfer to the prepared baking sheet. If the dough breaks at all patch it up with your fingers.
Arrange the pears in a mound in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the border over the filling. It will only cover the pears partially and does not need to be even.
The mounding was a little confusing for me, because the tart looked really funny with everything just piled up in a huge ball. As it cooked, the pears softened a great deal and began to mold together and, when they were done, it wasn’t such a crazy dogpile in the center of the tart.
Here it is as it’s going into the oven:
Bake the tart for 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, keeping the tart in the oven all the while, and bake for another 40 minutes, until the pears are tender and the crust is golden brown.
In a small bowl stir together the honey and boiling water to make a glaze. When the tart is done remove it from the oven and brush the honey glaze all over the top of the fruit and crust. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Cut into 6 wedges and serve warm or a room temperature.
I liked this a great deal. The honey glaze on top was the deal maker, adding that needed hint of sweetness. During the baking process, the pear juices and sugar soaked into the inside of the crust, giving it a little deliciousness that prevented me from skipping the end, like I sometimes do with a pizza.
The simplicity and deliciousness of this can’t be beat. I will definitely make this again.
And here’s the nutrition information:
6 servings, serving size 1 wedge
Calories 220; Total Fat 8 g; (Sat Fat 5 g, Mono Fat 2 g, Poly Fat 0 g) ; Protein 3 g; Carb 36 g; Fiber 4 g; Cholesterol 20 mg; Sodium 55 mg
Good source of: Fiber, Thiamin