Monday, I had company for lunch
A donation to the Chamber Forks and Corks fundraiser
Three friends joined me for lunch
In the dining room
because the breakfast room is a bit crowded this winter with plants!
A blue and white table
Not the Spode but
Wedgwood dating to 1870
A heirloom lace tablecloth
Damask napkins in silver napkin rings
And German silver cutlery . . . monogramed with my German grandmother's initials
cutlery laid out European style
A matching tureen filled with beautiful red pears
Always a menu for each guest.
And on the menu?
Butternut squash soup garnished with creme fraiche and crumbled bacon
Chicken with cream and capers served with white and wild rice
Higgins Pear and Almond Tart
baked in the rectangular tart pan
Each of us got a piece with a pear
Served with coffee
I normally take my blog pictures in the kitchen when I have guests
I don't want to intrude
(I'm not so kind to Husband Jim --
he knows not to begin eating until the important question of
"have you taken your picture yet?" has been asked.)
But I was not alone -- no blogs but there are Facebook posts
And two of my three guests were clicking away.
I even brought my camera out of the kitchen and joined along.
The following photographs were taken by jeffrey Glenn --
you'll find him at Higgins Glenn photography on Facebook.
If you "like" him you can see more amazing photography!
Jeff made my luncheon look "over the top"!
(And yes, I did get his permission to use his photographs!)
They certainly are magazine worthy!
Part of the reason I like to entertain so much
is that I get to try new recipes.
The soup was an old favorite
The chicken and tart were not.
CHICKEN WITH CAPER AND CREAM SAUCE
8 - 12 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
jar of capers in vinegar
2 cups whipping cream
Melt butter and olive oil in sauté pan.
Saute chicken breast over medium heat 5 minutes per side, or until chicken is golden brown, sprinkling each side of chicken lightly with the herbs.
Transfer chicken to a large baking dish.
Add whipping cream to the pan and turn the heat to high and scrape the pan. Add capers and juice to the cream mixture.
Gently simmer for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to blend.
Pour over the chicken.
Bake, uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes or until the chicken is done.
NOTE: This may be made the day before. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
Also, I used fresh thyme instead of dried but I did use dried oregano.
* * * * *
HIGGINS PEAR AND ALMOND TART
Sweet Tart Crust
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 t. salt
9 T. very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
Put the flour, sugar, salt in the bowl of a good processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in -- Stir the yolk, just to break it up and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When it comes together it's done.
You can knead the dough, wrap in plastic, chill at least 2 hours and roll out and put in a tart pan OR you can press the dough without chilling into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Don't be too heavy handed; press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but don't press so hard that the crust loses it's crumbly texture.
NOTE: I used the press in method -- for I was making the tart in the morning of the day that I was serving the tart at noon.
4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
3 medium size firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled*
2/3 c. blanched slivered almonds
1 T. flour
7 T. sugar
6 T. butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 t. almond extract or 2 t. brandy or 2 t. poire William
1 baked sweet tart shell
For pears: bring 4 cups water, sugar and lemon juice to boil in large saucepan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool pears in syrup.
For almond filling: finely grind almonds and flour in food processor. Mix in sugar, then butter and flavorings (if using). Blend until smooth. Mix in egg.
Transfer filling to bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350. Spread almond filling evenly in baked tart crust. Steam each pear half to fan slices but keep slices tightly overlapped. Slide spatula under pears and arrange atop filling.
Bake tart until golden and tester inserted in center of filling comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Push pan bottom up, releasing tart from pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
*I used "Higgins" pears. They're old fashioned pears from a big old pear tree. I'm not sure of their variety but they're perfect for this tart! And Mr. Higgins, owner of the pear tree, was one of my guests!
I told him that the name of this particular tart was "Higgins" Pear and Almond Tart . . but if made with store pears, it would be "Pear and Almond Tart"!
It's Thursday and I'm joining Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish. At Kathleen's it's a Harvest Party (and my bowlful of pears and the harvest of the Higgins Pear and Almond tart are my "Harvest" and I'm also joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.