Monday, October 10, 2005
Paper Chef #11
Autumn Pain Perdu
During the warmer months (most of them here in Memphis) standard breakfast food doesn't seem to do much for me. A glass of OJ and a piece of toast fills the bill.
But when the weather starts to cool, and the pumpkins start to appear in the farmers' markets, along with the new crop of apples and pears, a heartier dish starts to look more appealing.
This month's Paper Chef ingredients include duck, nut butter, ginger and pears. Hmmm...duck is not among my favorite foods, and not readily available here (except in the oriental markets and then you have to deal with things like heads and feet). But we sell duck fat at the shop, and I had half a sourdough boule needing attention. "Pain perdu," the French version of French toast, it had to be.
Autumn Pain Perdu
1/2 large sourdough boule
3 tbsp macadamia nut butter
6 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup half-and-half (or milk)
a good pinch of salt
4 tbsp duck fat
One red pear
One Asian pear
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 thin slices fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Meyers rum
Cut the boule into four 1-1/2" thick slices. With a sharp knife, cut a pocket in each slice of bread. Mix the nut butter and cream cheese and stuff into the pockets. Whisk the eggs, cream and salt together. Pour into a flat pan and add the bread. Let soak briefly on one side, and turn to the other about half-way through the cooking of the pears.
Core and thinly slice the unpeeled pears. In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter. Add the ginger and stir a bit, pressing on the bits with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the pears and sugar. Toss and stir until the pears start to caramelize but are still crisp. Warm the rum slightly, pour over the pears and flame. (Or, if flaming makes you nervous, simmer a bit more to cook off the alcohol).
In another heavy skillet, melt the duck fat over medium heat. Add the stuffed bread and cook, turning once, until both sides are nicely browned. Remove to a plate, top with the pears and dust with the cinnamon.