Given the current economic climate, I count myself beyond lucky to be so loaded down with work. I've even undertaken the unthinkable: training someone to take up some of the slack. This is not an easy proposition for so controlling meticulous a person; it's much simpler to do everything myself. But I've found someone with a suitable skill set, and having a helper will spare me having to let whole projects go to another supplier.
I miss blogging. And I've let inertia keep me from it more than is necessary. C'est la vie. I'll blog when I can, and hope that I still have an audience.
None of this means I've stopped cooking. It's been canning season, and I've put up plenty of good stuff from the garden. TJ and I together have been getting the hang of smoking (with the Weber Bullet), and we've had some great successes with it. And with houseguests here and gatherings there, I often enough have a requirement to make something a little special.
I promised a dessert for dinner at a friend's house over the weekend, so I dusted off a favorite recipe from Patricia Wells's Bistro Cooking (one of the most consulted cookbooks in my entire collection). The Tarte aux Pommes à la Crème is rich and elegant, but so simple to make:
Arrange thick crescent-shaped slices of baking apple (Granny Smiths or the like) in concentric circles in a cooled pre-baked tart shell. Pour in a simple uncooked custard* to fill the shell by about 3/4. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of granulated sugar and bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes, until the custard is just set and is very lightly browned in spots.
* The custard should be mixed in a ratio of 1 TBSP granulated sugar to 1 egg yolk to 1/4 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche. Increase as necessary. For a 12" tart, I multiplied by 4, but it could have taken a bit more.
You can use any fruit that isn't terrible juicy – I tried it with small plums and it was a runny mess (delicious, though). Pears or figs, I think, would be lovely.