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Thursday
Nov222012

Life of Pie

 

Started my Thanksgiving season -- yes, it's a season now -- by reviewing new cookbooks. (You can see them in the Sexiest Man Alive issue of People.) Among them was Sam Sifton's "Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well," which mandates for the use of at least two pounds of butter to make the holiday meal. Writes Sifton: "There may well be lots left over. But two pounds sends a message."

That's the kind of message that I am happy to perpetuate for a once-a-year occasion like Thanksgiving. But this year, I'm not the cook. I'm a guest. And my generous hosts happen not to use butter in their meal because they follow the Jewish laws of keeping kosher. No bird and butter on the same table.

Since I'm not a fan of margarine, this presented a challenge for making pie crust. Having returned recently from Italy, where I spent an afternoon learning about how olives become olive oil and tasting a tart of figs nestled in an olive-oil crust, I thought I could do something similar with apples and pears.

A digital scale is a great help.

I adapted a standard tart recipe, chilling the oil in the freezer so that it created the recognizable pea-sized pieces of fat hitting flour. I also used some almond flour mixed in for sweetness and structure.

Here's the basic shell recipe; fill with sliced fruit (tossed with cinnamon and 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on how sweet the fruit is and your own taste) and bake at 400 for 25-45 minutes, or until your fruit is golden and glazed.

 

 

 

 

OLIVE OIL TART

Enough for up to a 12-inch tart pan.

200 grams flour

50 grams almond flour

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup olive oil, chilled in freezer for at least 30 minutes

1/2 cup very cold water

Combine the flours, salt, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix it in with a fork until pea-size crumbs form. Add the water, mix with the fork until it is absorbed, then knead gently until the dough comes together into a ball; don't overwork it.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out into a circle a little larger than your tart pan. Transfer the dough carefully into the pan. Trim the excess dough and place the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.

Get your fruit ready: I peeled, cored and thinly sliced two Empire apples and two bosc pears. Toss the fruit in olive oil (just enough to lightly coat) and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Layer the slices in concentric circles until the tart is filled. Because this is a holiday and too much isn't enough, I dotted the tart with finely chopped pieces of candied ginger before baking.

Bake until golden; mine oven tooke the full 45 minutes to get those apples soft and syrupy, but mind yours if you're using fruit that cooks more quickly.

Thankful to be sharing this holiday with loved ones in the beautiful Berkshire foothills. Grateful for a year that saw my book published, and so many readers respond to it.  Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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