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Pear Gruyere Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


As I’ve mentioned before, I just adore Pushing Daisies.  Too bad the average television consumer seems to prefer shows about slutty Atlanta housewives to anything with substance.  Anyway, my favorite soon too be cancelled drama features a pie shop, and it seems every episode I watch I am more and more inspired to make pie.  Which is good since pies are already my favorite thing to make.

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Last season, one of the characters, Chuck, made a few pies with gruyere baked into the crusts.  I’ve experimented with baking cheese into the crust, but when I was trying to think how I could schnazz up my pear pie, I was inspired to bake cheese into the pie as well.  What I mean is, putting cheese not only in the crust, but also in the filling.  To compliment this slightly cheesy pear delight, I made homemade vanilla ice cream with just a dash of ginger.

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This is really a wonderful pie.  Apples this time of year are not worth it, but pears are just perfection.  And I’m just such a sucker for hot pie served with cold, fresh ice cream.  The cheese in the crust is subtle and rich, and the cheese in the filling adds a creaminess and a punch to the flavor of the pear that really accentuates the fruit.  In addition to the cheese, I also baked honey, cinnamon, and ginger into the crust.

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As for the ice cream, I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker that is so… well so cool.  The recipe is from Seasoned in the South, a book of recipes from Chapel Hill’s (amazing) restaurant Crooks Corner.  Homemade ice cream is easy to make, and if you have a machine, why pay for it?  Come summer I’ll share some sorbet recipes (inspired by another amazing eatery in DC, Dolcezza).  One day I’ll figure out how to make Ben & Jerry’s “The Gobfather,” which is the ice cream that single-handedly got me through having mono.  I’ll probably gain a few hundred pounds, but each one will be, as my grandmother says, delightful.

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Pear Gruyere Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Pie:

5 pears

1/2 stick of butter

2/3 cup sugar

Dash of ginger

Dash of cinnamon

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 egg

4 tsp honey (2 for filling, 2 for topping)

1/3 cup shredded gruyere cheese, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling

Pie crust (recipe here)

Peel and chop your pears in to bite size pieces.  Melt butter in saute pan.  Add in pears, sugar, and spices.  Let simmer for twenty minutes or so, until pears are very tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Stir in flour, remove from heat.  Set aside and allow to return to room temperature.

Prepare your dough.  Stir honey and cheese into your filling.  Spoon filling into dough, and place the top crust over the filling, pinching the edges.  Whisk together honey and egg.  Brush onto the top of the pie crust.

Bake at 375* for 45 minutes

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Source: Crooks Corner

8 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

1 split vanilla bean

3/4 stick butter

Dash of ginger

Separate eggs and whisk with sugar.  Bring one cup of heavy cream and the milk almost to a boil, with the vanilla bean.  As soon as it’s scalded, remove from heat.  Put in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water (or a double boiler) and stir constantly until it begins to thicken and steam a little, around ten minutes.

Lower the heat and stir in a quarter of the butter.  Remove from heat and stir the rest of the butter in, a little bit at a time.  Make sure the butter is completely absorbed and melted.  Add the rest of the cream.  Make sure to remove the vanilla bean, and sift or strain for any lumps.  Chill the custard for an hour in the refrigerator.

Churn in the ice cream maker until it is solid, then freeze until you intend to serve it.  Serving it right out of the ice cream maker is an option, but frankly it’s a little mushier than you want it.  Firming it up in the freezer ensures that you serve more than just vanilla mush.

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Pork Roast with Carolina Apple Compote

Since lately I’ve been posting a blitz of fall dessert recipes, and since this blog is already heavy in the baked goods, I thought I’d shake things up a little bit.  So, tonight I present two recipes from the most recent Southern Living, the first of which is a pork tenderloin roast with a carolina apple compote.

I should note that I have not ever actually made a pork tenderloin by myself before.  Also, I have never felt more like a fifties housewife than when my bff Megan called me at the grocery store today and I told her I was picking up kitchen thread and wine for my pork roast.  Incidentally the market was out of kitchen thread, which left me with my second dilemma of the night.  After some internet research, I discovered that as a tawdry substitute, I could use twine.  Thank the stars, I had some in my backseat from when we moved our mattress on top of my car.

Since I’m poor and hoping that since I opted not to elope, I will get showered with kitchen-related goodies next September, I don’t have a roasting pan.  Or a rack.  So my roast was roasted in an aluminum disposable pan trussed with twine.  Cut in half because I didn’t have a pan big enough to brown it whole.  Sometimes I wish TLC had a show called “pimp my kitchen.”  Don’t let the granite countertops fool you.

Pork Roast with Carolina Apple Compote
Source: Southern Living

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp Herbs from Provance

1/2 tbsp dried basil

1/2 tbsp dried oregano

1/2 tbsp dried thyme

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 boneless pork tenderloin

Kitchen string (or twine)

2 tsp olive oil

4 gala apples, peeled

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup apple cider

5 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tbsp orange zest

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Dash of ground ginger

1 tbsp butter

Combine garlic, herbs, salt & pepper.  Toss and rub (with your fingers, preferably) over the side and into any cracks in your roast.  Truss with twine, which is essentially wrapping it (not too tight) with one inch intervals.  Cover, and refrigerate for two hours.

Preheat your oven to 375*.  Brown the roast in hot oil in a skillet, spending 2 to 4 minutes on each side.  Then pop that baby in a pan and stick it in the oven.  You’re going to want to let it cook for an hour, or until the internal temperature is 160*.  When it’s done, cover it and let it sit for fifteen minutes, so the juices can redistribute.

Dice your apples, cover with lemon juice, and set aside.  Bring cider, sugar, zest, and spices to a boil.  Reduce temperature and let simmer until they’ve thickened, about ten minutes.  Add in apples and cook another twenty minutes, until the apples have absorbed most of the juices.  Stir in butter, toss.  Stir in any juices from the roast.  Serve on top of, or next to, the pork.

Serves 2.

 

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Pumpkin Muffins

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While trying desperately to find some paper scraps I had hidden from myself so I could complete a handmade box order, I stumbled across a page I had torn out of an issue of Gourmet a few years ago.  A habit I have adopted from my mother (I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve “organized” her recipes), sometimes I tear things out of magazines and squirrel them away.  Anyway, this recipe for Pumpkin Muffins provided me with the perfect opportunity to use the cups and cups of pumpkin puree I have leftover from my sugar pie pumpkin experiment.  This recipe is very easy, and very low maintenance.  So, that leaves me plenty of time to tell my favorite muffin-related story.

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In college I was required to take color photography, and the semester I took it, the head of the department (who usually teaches the class) was on sabbatical.  So I got a fresh-out-of-grad-school MICA alum, who was well… stuck up.  And she hated me.  I’ll admit that I tend to be outspoken, I make too many jokes, and I have a tendency to go on tyrants, but I don’t know that I deserved all the hate she threw my way.  Except for this one day.  So we’re sitting in class, in the middle of a critique.  It was a morning class, so it was about 9.30 in the morning, and she was sitting on the opposite side of the room from me.  And I was (unbeknownst to me) suffering from keratitis at the time, so my vision was blurry.

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I glanced over at her and it looked like her nose was bleeding, she hae this giant dark red spot on her face right below her nose.  I thought, if my nose was bleeding, I’d want someone to tell me, so I said “Oh my god, Corrine, your nose is bleeding!”  She reached her hand up to her face, touched the spot and glared at me before she said “it’s a sore.”

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Oops.  I felt really bad.  As much as I hated her, pointing out a gaping sore on her face in front of everyone was especially cruel, even if it was an accident.  So the next week, I decided to bring her a peace offering.  The cafe near campus, On the Hill, has delicious muffins.  So before class, I stopped by and got two muffins, a blueberry and a cranberry.  I will preface this by saying that of the two, I would have preferred the cranberry.  I walked into class, and walked up to her and said “Corrine, would you like a peace muffin?”  Not so much.  She glanced up at me, and said “I don’t like muffins.”  So I told her that because it was a PEACE muffin, she couldn’t refuse it, to which she replied that she guessed she’d take the cranberry.  So she took the muffin that I wanted, and then didn’t eat it.  A delicious, $3 muffin brimming with cranberries and sparkly sugar, to waste.

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That pretty much sums up my college experience.  Or my life experience…

Pumpkin Muffins
Source: Gourmet Magazine

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tbsp sugar (for sprinkling)

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon (for sprinkling)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat to 350*.  Whisk together flour and baking powder.  In another bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Once it’s smooth, add in the flour mixture.  Pour into muffin pan.  Mix cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle ontop.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Schmear with a little butter, and remember that even though pumpkins will be out of season soon, eventually it will be spring.

Makes 10-12 muffins.


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