• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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Whole Wheat Sausage, Pear, Fig, and Parmesan Tart

One of the best things about working at a culinary school is the access to great ingredients.  Produce, meats, cheese, and anything else you can think of is the freshest it can be.  My favorite thing to do with great ingredients is keep it simple.  This, of course, is especially great in the apartment kitchen, where I don’t have a lot to work with.

Even though I have access to unique ingredients, you can emulate a simple dish like this with whatever you have on hand, or whatever looks especially fresh or great in the grocery store.  Splurge a little for organic produce or take a trip to a specialty market.  Buy things that are fresh and seasonal, and make flavor combinations that highlight the best in the product. 

Whole Wheat Sausage, Pear, Fig, and Parmesan Tart

Served 2.
Leftover Potential: Reheats easily, though crust may not be quite as crisp.  Also delicious cold.  We had 1 slice left.

Whole Wheat Crust:
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp yeast
3/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)

olive oil, as needed

1.  Combine the flours, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast on top, and mix completely to combine.
2.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the water.  Mix to combine completely, then remove from bowl and knead until smooth.  By hand this should take about 3-5 minutes.
3.  Place the finished dough back in the bowl, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.  
4.  Coat a cookie sheet or pizza pan well with olive oil.  Put the dough onto the pan and use your hands to spread the dough out across the sheet.  Use your fingers to stipple the dough to make it even and pull it to the size and thickness you want.  I made a thin, crisp crust, but a thicker, chewier crust could be achieved with this dough also.

Finished Tart:
5 figs, thinly sliced
1 pear, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 sausages, precooked, sliced thinly
parmesan cheese, as needed

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Evenly spread the ingredients across the tart dough.  
3.  Finely grate the parmesan across the dough.  Use as much or as little as you wish, but the cheese will add a saltiness and help bind the ingredients to the tart.
4.  Bake until the edges are golden brown and crisp, about 15-20 minutes.

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