Saturday, August 31, 2013

Way Back Machine

A few days ago I was going through a box of old statistics teaching materials---of all things!---when I came across a copy of my high school literary magazine, dedicated to my mom and with the following letter in it (click to enlarge if the edge is getting truncated on your computer):

  1. Wow, was I a self-absorbed, obnoxious, snarky little punk-rock-obsessed teenage twit!
  2. Even so, I was a pretty good writer and storyteller (more so in this letter, actually, than in the works published in the literary magazine I found it tucked into---I guess there is something to the value of writing in your own voice).
  3. Is it kind of sad that I signed off by telling my mother, "Call me if you're in town"?
  4. I wrote this on a typewriter.  Yes, I am that old----a fossil whose adolescence predates the digital age.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Half-and-half pizza

The little man's half---his usual pepperoni smiley face:

Mom's half---pear, turkey, and gorgonzola:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pear Tart Recipe

Back in summer 2000 I spent 2 weeks in England.  There was a little bistro within walking distance of our B&B in Bloomsbury that was open late, and our study abroad group used to go there frequently in the evenings to have dessert and coffee after playing hard at being tourists all day.  They had the most wonderful pear tart, and I have since tried a number of times to recreate it but it just wasn't the same.  Then recently two things happened:
a) I found a recipe for French sweet pastry
b) I was talking to a friend who said he hated amaretto, and then the subject turned somehow to my pear tart recipe search.  The next day I realized, amaretto!  That's what would give the pear tart that almondy tang without resorting to almond paste, which I am not crazy about.
So, after 13 years of hit-and-miss (ok, it wasn't the only thing I was doing all that time), here is my long-awaited heavenly pear tart recipe!
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
1 egg yolk
4 Tbsp water
Dash of salt

Pear filling 
6 pears, cored, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 tsp amaretto
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp flour
2 tsp corn starch

Heat butter in microwave for 15 seconds to soften.  Mix all pastry ingredients and roll into ungreased tart pan.  Brush with an egg yolk mixed with 2 Tbsp. water, prick bottom with fork tines, and cook in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until crust is dry and firm.

Simmer the pear mixture in a small saucepan on medium low heat until it begins to thicken and the pears start to soften, then pour into prepared tart crust.  Cook in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until pie crust slightly browned, pears are tender, and filling reaches desired thickness.

Fine by itself or dress it up by serving with vanilla bean ice cream, gorgonzola cheese, or fresh whipped cream.