Saturday, September 25, 2010
Part 2 Of 2 & Pear-Cheese Tart (with gingersnap crust)
*This is a continuation of a two-part post. The first of which can be opened in a separate page HERE.
When I started cooking again more seriously several months back, after not for nearly a decade, I endeavored to accomplish two things: Be more adventurous. Try something new. I have a bad habit of falling into a comfort zone and staying there. Once things become pro forma, I get bored and quit.
Case in point, Clarinet: Quit after 100 sum odd torture inducing solo performances of 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'. High school: Quit! After 9 years of formal (what I guess the Boston Public School System is passing for) "education," I left with what little of my dignity remained and a letter of dismissal. Kickboxing: Training 4-6 hours a day became my life. I lived and breathed this sport which, to this day, remains my love. Alas, eventually the routine grew tiring and I quit!
What I've since come to realize about myself is that it's not "routine" that wears on my fortitude, as much as it's the frame in which my perspective is held. "Change the way you look at something, and the thing itself changes." If I learned to play a song I enjoyed on the clarinet, maybe I would have stuck with it. If I transferred to a school with a less traditional approach, maybe I would have felt challenged enough to not drop out. If I expanded my method of training to include...well, you get the point. I'd still have those gorgeous abs!
I do come back to the things I love eventually, if they're good for me. I always do. Only, with the lessons quitting has taught me and a new perspective. Hundreds of books and essays and articles read, I've always loved and valued learning. Kickboxing has worked its way back into my daily routine without becoming routine. And I prefer listening to rather than making music. So it goes...
This dessert is a favorite in my house and something I make often with graham cracker crust and seasonal fruit, like pineapple or strawberries.
Today's version was born out of a willingness to try something I wouldn't have expected in a sweet treat, like ground black pepper in Gingersnap Cookies. Which I now see totally makes sense. And a desire to change my opinion about something I've never been too fond of: pears. A fruit I learned I can enjoy if pictured in the right frame.
Pear-Cheese Tart with (Chez Panisse recipe) Gingersnap Cookie Crust
Recipes couresty and Adapted from The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution (Clarkson Potter) by Alice Waters, via David Lebovitz. And Moi.
4 Sweet Bartlett Pears (Or a mix of Bartlett and Bosc)
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon orange zest (Optional)
2 cups crushed Chez Panisse recipe Gingersnap Cookies
3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
1 1/4 cup heavy/whipping cream (Prepared)
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
One 8 oz. package Philadelphia cream cheese
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
Peel pears. Cut in half and remove core. Cut pears in slices. Add slices to medium sauce pan with lemon juice, zest, brown sugar, and corn starch. Cook over medium heat until ingredients have combined and pears have broken down some, about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Crush gingersnap cookies in food processor. Slowly add in melted butter until combined. Pour mixture into pie pan and, with the heel of your hand, form into crust around bottom and sides of pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Add cream cheese and 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar to medium bowl and mix until creamy. In separate bowl, lightly whip heavy cream, 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar and vanilla into soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese until mostly combined. Using mixer, mix until completely combined and smooth. Taste for sweetness and adjust as necessary.
Scrape cream cheese mixture into cooled crust. Spread evenly. Spoon cooled pear mixture over cream cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours, or until set up.