Feeling Like a Rock Star

October 25, 2009


A few months ago, I got a lovely email from a guy who reads my blog.  He and his partner live in Seattle and a big birthday was coming up.  He wondered if I would cook a dinner for them as a surprise for his partner.  I was touched and said yes right away.  Many emails went back and forth figuring out dates and menu ideas.  Through it all this guy was such a joy to work with.  He only had two requests.  Mexican Brownies had to be the treat and I had to keep the whole thing a secret.

Menu ideas went around and around in my head.  I obsess about menus for people I know, let alone strangers.  Ultimately, I decided it was best to let the season guide me.  I turned to my trusty Macrina Bakery cookbook for yet another of Leslie Mackie’s amazing savory galette recipes.  This one had a ricotta and goat cheese base with sauteed pears topping it.  I made a butternut squash soup that had just a bit of wild rice in each bowl, and I made broccoli and cauliflower with a mustard chive butter.  And the brownies of course.

Coincidentally, we had friends over for dinner that same night so I made double the amount of everything and we were able to enjoy the meal as well.  I was a tad worried that the galette might be too sweet for a main course but it was really wonderful.  I was recently tempted to try a different crust recipe after reading a post by Sarah at In Praise of Leftovers (she is a galette master), but after tasting this one once more, I’ve got to stay loyal.  It is so incredibly easy to put together and is probably the flakiest dough I have ever tasted.


Have you ever felt like a rock star?  I haven’t had the experience too often, but I highly recommend it.  Thursday afternoon I arrived at their place and called from downstairs to ask for help bringing up the food.  As they walked out the front door, his partner took one look at me and his hands flew to his face as his jaw dropped.  He recognized me from my photos here and as the reality of what was coming set in, he got really excited.  I got to hear how they found me (thank you Amy B.!) and all the dishes they have tried, and loved, from this site.  He told me, “I feel like I’m meeting a rock star.”  And that was probably the best thing I heard all week.  Because yes, sometimes my children do make me feel like a rock star (“Yay Mommy!”) but more often than not, they make me feel like a roadie.


One Year Ago:  Gnocchi with Winter Squash and Seared Radicchio

Roasted Pear Galette with Chèvre and Pomegranates
Adapted from Macrina Bakery and Café Cookbook
Serves 8-10

The amount of dough in the following recipe will make two of these large galettes.  Use one half and freeze the other.  I love having it on hand in the freezer.

2 ripe Bartlett pears, cored and halved
Canola oil
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups goat cheese
3 eggs
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. chopped thyme
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 recipe Flaky Pie Dough (recipe follows), chilled
1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Egg wash made with 1 egg and 1 tsp. water

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Preheat a large skillet (preferably non-stick) to medium-high heat.  Cut pear halves in to 1/2-inch thick slices.  Brush both sides of the slices with canola oil and lay them in the hot pan.  Turn the slices over as soon as they begin to turn brown, you don’t want to cook the fruit all the way through.  Once they other side is slightly brown, lay the pear slices on a sheet of parchment paper and set aside to cool.

Combine ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, salt, thyme, and rosemary in a large bowl.  Season with a little pepper and mix well with a whisk.  Set aside.

Form chilled pie dough into a ball and place it on a floured work surface.  Flatten the ball slightly and roll it into a 14-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick.  Roll the dough over the rolling pin and unroll it onto the prepared baking sheet.  Spoon ricotta mixture onto center of circle and flatten leaving a 2-inch border around the edges.  Lift border on top of the filling, tucking and folding the dough to create a gathered, or pleated, finish.  Lift each of the folds up and brush underneath with egg wash to seal the crust.  Brush all exposed dough with egg wash, then place the galette in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Remove tart from refrigerator and bake on center rack of the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove tart from oven and lay the cooled pear slices on top of the tart.  Return the tart to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.  Let cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.  Garnish the tart with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.  The galette is best served slightly warm.  Wrap any leftovers with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

(DT: You can make the dough up to 4 days ahead, the cheese filling one day ahead, and can seed the pomegranate one day ahead.  This make putting it together a breeze.  The whole thing can be assembled and baked 6 hours ahead of serving.  Reheat in a 375°F oven for 10-15 minutes.)

Flaky Pie Dough
Makes enough for 2 double-crusted (9-inch) pies, or 2 galettes

I always make pie dough in my food processor, but this amount is too much for it, so I do it by hand with a pastry blender.

5 1/4 cups flour
1 tbsp. kosher salt

12 tbsp. (1
1/2 sticks) butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cups solid vegetable shortening, chilled
1 cup ice water

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and toss together. Add butter and cut it into the flour until the texture is coarse and crumbly. You can use a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers. Cut the shortening up and add it in small pieces. Cut in the shortening until the dough is crumbly again. Add ice water and mix just until the dough sticks together when pinched. Pull dough from bowl onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a block. Cut it in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or wrap it again in foil and store in the freezer. One day before you are going to use frozen dough, transfer it to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw there overnight.


  1. Of course we all think you’re a rock star! I thought you knew that! :-*

    Comment by Kristina — October 25, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  2. You ARE a rock star!! That is absolutely gorgeous & delicious-looking. What a fun story!

    Comment by Lori @ RecipeGirl — October 25, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  3. dana! i love this, it looks AMAZING with that thick cheese layer! I can imagine that made you feel so special, nice work!

    Comment by Sprouted Kitchen — October 25, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

  4. Dana, that is so cool! I admit that you are a bit of a rock star to me, too. Just the other week my sister and I were talking about how, of all the bloggers we follow, you were the one we’d most want to meet and eat with! (Um, with you cooking. Sorry.) ;)

    Comment by Ele — October 25, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

  5. Oh my, that must have felt so good. I’m so excited for you. I’d love to cater for people but don’t know where to start. And the meal you suggested was brilliant. Congratulations!

    Comment by Hélène — October 26, 2009 @ 12:37 am

  6. What a great story! I love it!
    How fun to meet your fans….and that galette looks beautiful.

    Comment by Stacey Snacks — October 26, 2009 @ 1:02 am

  7. These photos just pop. I LOVE the story about your dinner delivery. You ARE a rock star!

    P.S. We may have to have galette wars. I’m going to try your crust (which means a trip to the store for Crisco, which is never in my fridge). I’m up for it, though. :)

    Comment by The Leftoverist — October 26, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  8. This is the best story Dana! What an amazing feeling! This looks really great- I have pom seeds on the menu for this week as well. Perfect fall galette!

    Comment by fresh365 — October 26, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

  9. That’s so great, you made his birthday amazing! The pomegranate seeds look so pretty, and the galette sounds delicious.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — October 26, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

  10. Lovely story and glorious picture… you are TOTALLY a rock star!

    Comment by Yannik — October 26, 2009 @ 6:53 pm

  11. The pictures are beautiful. This reminds me of Christmas!

    Comment by The Cooking Bride — October 26, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

  12. That is so cool! What a great feeling that must have been.

    I feel like I’ve met a rock star today, actually, because Dorie Greenspan commented on my post about her cake! (Er, hope she didn’t mind that I criticized one aspect of it…)

    Comment by Hilary — October 26, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

  13. that meal sounds amazing- what a perfect gift.

    i can’t wait to try this. i love pomegranate in savory dishes (salads, hummus) but am always looking for more places to use them. thanks for such a great recipe.

    Comment by Ana — October 26, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  14. How nice of you and you are a rock star-a natural!

    Comment by Maria — October 26, 2009 @ 11:04 pm

  15. Aside from the fact that this is stunning, I cannot imagine how delicious it must have been. I am jealous of the group who got to eat your spectacular meal.

    Comment by Frenchie — October 27, 2009 @ 1:25 am

  16. wow!! what a great birthday present! that galette looks so delicious. I think I would react the same way if you came to my front door!

    Comment by Emily Rose — October 27, 2009 @ 2:16 am

  17. I am totally one of your groupies! ;)

    Comment by Tracy — October 27, 2009 @ 2:46 am

  18. That is such a great story! I wish you could mosey on over to Chicago to cook for me :) That tart looks fantastic… the cheese looks to-die-for!

    Comment by HappyTummy — October 27, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  19. Aww, you’re such the superstar. The fandom is deserved.

    And that galette sounds amazing. Please come north of the border soon.

    Comment by tara — October 27, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

  20. Dang girl, this looks wonderful!!! I will just have to make this for some event coming up here soon. I’m sure I will find one. Thanks again for the groovy post. BTW, Love you haircut and the great pictures of the little monkey about to eat the muffins!

    Comment by Dana Zia — October 30, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

  21. Awww how wonderful that they made you feel like a rockstar! That’s so awesome. And the dinner you put together for them sounds amazing. I’ve never made a galette before but seeing the ones you’ve made makes me think I should!

    Comment by Ashley — October 31, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  22. That’s so cool and sounds like a really sweet experience. Wish I lived in Seattle so I could get you to cook a surprise up for my husband. This looks fantastic!

    Comment by Bordeaux — November 2, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  23. Unusual combo and a great looking tart. Excellent post!

    Comment by tasteofbeirut — November 4, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

  24. wow!! what a great birthday present! that galette looks so delicious. I think I would react the same way if you came to my front door!

    Comment by CB — November 11, 2009 @ 5:16 am

  25. Dana-
    You seriously are a rockstar- everything I make that you’ve put on this site comes out perfectly! Quick substitution question- how would apples for the pears turn out in this dish? I have a man who absolutely HATES pears but this would be a perfect dish for the fall food kick I seem to be on…Thanks so much!!

    Comment by Steph — September 14, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

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