We almost always spend Thanksgiving day with our friends Dominic and Jenny. They have a beautiful three-story Victorian house in Scranton and five children between them, so it's an ever-changing group of people around the table each year. What doesn't change much is the menu, and I think that's true for most peoples holiday celebrations. Thanksgiving is about traditional foods and there's no messing with the family recipes. I always like to bring a little something when I'm invited to dinner, so Jenny asked me to bring a vegetable and a dessert.
I'm going to try a green bean recipe with bacon and shallots this year. I hate that green bean casserole that everyone seems to love so much and this will be a lighter and fresher way to get our veggies. And I'm going to revisit a pear tart that I make occasionally. I can't remember where I got this recipe but it's super easy and yummy and different from the usual pumpkin and apple pies. We'll have those, too, of course.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus 2 tablespoons melted
1 teaspoon milk
2 tablespoons apricot preserves, strained
2 Bosc pears (6 to 7 ounces each)
1 teaspoon pear liqueur or brandy
Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, toss together the flour, 1 teaspoon of the sugar and the salt. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the egg over the flour mixture and stir it in. Working quickly, gather the dough into a smooth mass, squeezing it gently until you can wipe the sides of the bowl clean. On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into a flat even circle, about 5 inches in diameter. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until cold but not hard, about 30 minutes. (The dough can be prepared a day or two ahead. Let it soften at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until malleable, before rolling out.)
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 9 1/2-inch circle, turning it clockwise an inch or two each time you roll to maintain an even shape. Transfer the dough to a heavy baking sheet. Fold up the edge of the dough about 1⁄4 inch to form a neat, smooth rim. With the back of a knife, score decorative diagonal indentations around the rim. Brush the rim with a little of the beaten egg. Brush 1 tablespoon of the apricot preserves over the bottom of the tart shell. Refrigerate while you prepare the pears.
Peel, quarter, and core the pears. Slice each quarter lengthwise into 5 thin wedges. Arrange all but 6 of the pear slices on the pastry in a spoke pattern, overlapping them slightly. Trim the remaining slices and arrange them in the center of the tart.
Brush the pear slices with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake the galette in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden and the pears are tender. Slide the galette onto a rack to cool slightly.
Stir 1 teaspoon pear liqueur into the remaining 1 tablespoon apricot preserves and brush over the pear slices. Serve the galette at room temperature with cream that has been whipped with a small amount of sugar and pear liqueur. Serves 4-6.
Hope you all have a warm and safe holiday and don't stuff yourselves too much!