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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Experimenting with Galettes (Cinnamon, Pear and Chocolate Galette)

A new group of college students have arrived here in Strasbourg, so my husband (who is the director of the study abroad program here for the year) and I invited all 23 of them over for our traditional weekend tea and dessert. We started this last semester, and by the time the new group arrived, they had already heard about it and had asked us to have one earlier than we would have. Last semester I started out with a traditional apple tart and a pear and chocolate tart. Since I liked the idea of starting out this weekly dessert with a French pastry, I baked an apple tart and played around with the previous pear tart--in the form of a galette.

I combined recipes and suggestions from many sources, including a friend here in Strasbourg (thanks, Betsy!), Martha Stewart, and David Lebowitz. The cookies add a nice flavor, but, according to Lebowitz, soak up any excess fruit juice, ensuring a nice crisp crust.

Cinnamon, Pear and Chocolate Galette

1 pate sablée

1 1/3 bars of dark chocolate (about 130g)
4 hard ginger or spice cookies
3-4 large ripe pears
1 Tbl cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
sprinkle of cinnamon
1 Tbl butter
1 egg
1 packet vanilla sugar

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the dough on a buttered and floured baking sheet and let sit in the fridge while preparing the fillings.

Peel and chop the pears into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Mix the cornstarch, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the sugar mixture to the pears and mix to coat. Set aside.

Chop the chocolate. Set aside. Smash the cookies into crumbs and set aside.

Assembling the galette:

Place a layer of chocolate in the center of the dough, leaving about 2 inches around the edge. Spread evenly. Sprinkle the cookie crumbs evenly on top of the chocolate and then add the pears. Fold the leftover dough over the filling, overlapping and folding the edges. Dot the showing pears with small pieces of butter.

Create an egg wash with egg and a little water. Brush the folded-over dough with egg wash and then sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Bake for about an hour, until pears are soft and bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

***Blogger is still not uploading pictures for me, so I've figured out a temporary workaround that will not allow me to arrange the photos (ie, center them, etc.), but at least I can post! I'll try to go through these posts as soon as Blogger fixes the issue and fix them again then.

***Blogger Update: The image feature has apparently been fixed for me, so I've replaced the weird photos with properly arranged ones. Thanks for your patience!


Lori February 17, 2009 at 12:35 PM  

That entertaining has to be such a fun experience. Study abroad programs are so fun, how exciting that your husband heads that up! This recipe sounds delicious. I've never tried a Galette, but i love this combo!

Donna-FFW February 17, 2009 at 2:26 PM  

This looks absolutely wonderful. Pears, chocolate, cinnamon , favorites of mine. LOVE it! Looks so pretty!

Sue February 18, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

Yummy. Those starving students were probably delighted with something homemade.

Creative Classroom Core February 19, 2009 at 10:55 AM  

This pic is gorgeous! I bet the chocoate pear combo was delish! Great site!

Mindy February 20, 2009 at 7:42 AM  

Lori and Sue--It is a lot of fun to see college students experiencing traveling and living in a different culture for the first time. They normally enjoy homemade food, but especially when they're desperate for something familiar! I always start the teas off with a French dessert, but about half-way through, I make good, old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies to remind them of home. :-)

Donna and finsmom--Thanks for stopping by! This is soooo easy to make since you don't need any special equipment.

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