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October 2008
Recipes Contributed by:
Jacksonville Mercantile

Dear Fellow Foodies:

Now that the weather is crisper, our thoughts start to move towards comfort foods. I always love the fall when apples come into season and apple pies, tarts and cakes show up at dinner parties for dessert.


Crème Fraiche Apple Pie with Hazelnut Crumble topping
Rogue Valley Pear and Hazelnut Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
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Crème Fraiche Apple Pie with Hazelnut Crumble Topping

The following is a decadent version of an apple pie. This pie is done in two stages. First you bake the pie until almost done, and then top with a nut crumble to finish. Since Oregon is Hazelnut country, I use toasted hazelnuts in the topping. You may substitute cashews if you desire. You can use a store bought pie crust, but since it is so simple to make it fresh, I prefer to make my own.

Crème Fraiche Apple Pie with Hazelnut Crumble Topping

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces unsalted butter (one stick)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Approximately ¼ cup ice water

Mix the flour with the salt. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until the butter is the size of small peas. A tablespoon at a time, add the water while mixing with your hands until the dough just holds together. You should be able to see the butter pieces in the dough. Place this on a piece of plastic wrap and roll out slightly with another piece of plastic on top. Wrap this well and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After dough has rested, roll out the dough slightly and then put the dough into a 9-inch deep pie tin. Flute the sides of the dough and place back into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.

4 Large Baking Apples (Granny Smith, Rome or Gala apples work well or if you are lucky you can get Winter Banana apples) peeled, cut into slices (you may leave on the skins if the apples are organic)
¾ cup Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
2 teaspoons Vanilla paste
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons corn starch
¾ cup Crème Fraiche

Mix all the ingredients and place into the chilled pie crust. Bake at 375F for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes lower the temperature to 350F. Crumble topping on top of hot pie and continue to bake for another 20 minutes. The topping will spread and create a very crunchy top. If the crust seems to be getting too dark, wrap foil around the edges of the crust to prevent from getting too brown.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
½ cup dark brown sugar (I prefer Dark Muscavado sugar since it has more molasses)
¼ cup Caster Sugar
1 cup chopped hazelnuts (already roasted and skins removed)
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
4 ounces chilled unsalted butter (1 stick)

Mix the flour, sugar, and Chinese five spice in a bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles small peas. Add the chopped hazelnuts and mix. Drop this by the teaspoonful on top of the pie while still hot and this will melt into the pie creating a crunchy topping when cool. Serve slightly warm with your favorite ice cream or an additional spoonful of sweetened Crème Fraiche.

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Rogue Valley Pear and Hazelnut Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Living in Oregon means pears and hazelnuts. The following is a salad I will be making at an upcoming wine dinner as the Guest Chef at Troon on November 1st. Be sure you toast your hazelnuts, otherwise you will not be able to get the skins off.

Rogue Valley Pear and Hazelnut Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Serves 4
2 medium pears – washed, cored, and sliced
1 large bunch arugula – washed – or substitute mixed baby greens if desired
½ cup toasted hazelnuts – skins removed as much as possible
1 small shallot – minced
1 teaspoon Edmund Fallot Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons Golden Balsamic Vinegar (you may substitute champagne vinegar)
approx. 6-9 Tablespoons Hazelnut oil
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Mix the mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar in a bowl. S-l-o-w-l-y add the hazelnut oil while whisking until emulsified. Add the shallots, toss the salad with the dressing. You may not use all the dressing. Remember, you want your salad dressed not drowned. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts on top of salad. Fan pears on side of salad and serve.

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