Sweet Potato and Gruyère Pie with Pecans

Sweet Potato and Gruyère Pie with Pecans-13163

Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes?  Culinary gravity inexorably pulls them toward brown sugar or molasses or something candied, even with bacon (candied bacon).  But don’t do it, at least not this time.  I never encountered a sweet potato during my year abroad in the Swiss canton of Fribourg, a stone’s throw from the town of Gruyères (town, plural: cheese, singular), but I can guarantee that that if there were ever a culinary match made in heaven it’s sweet potato and that most hazelnut and butter flavored of all cheeses, aged Gruyère.  Some cheeses should never be melted (sorry, brie en croute is ghastly) but Gruyère is just the opposite.  Quiche, the poster child of boring French food from the ’70′s, is redeemed by the addition of aged Gruyère.  Fondue without Gruyère is but a pale revenant of the real deal.  Gruyère is expensive (around $20/lb.) but the recipe only calls for a cup and half of the stuff, grated, about 3 ounces.  Unfortunately, I only found out about the Gruyère after the ingredients photograph had been taken.  Jody announced that she’d added Gruyère–I couldn’t even photograph it being stirred into the bowl.  I growled and stomped around.  I should have waited until I tasted the finished pie.  Gruyère and sweet potatoes rule.

Fig, Plum and Hazelnut Tart

Fig, Plum and Hazelnut Tart-530-8819

Oh, the things we do, the torments we endure, so you don’t have to.  The week’s Fig, Plum and and Hazelnut Tart didn’t start out as the walk in the park below.  After helping everyone become a tart shell master last week we thought we’d put the technique to good use with a simple fig and mascarpone tart.  However, after half our figs disappeared the night before we were scheduled to blog, we had to rethink our plan.  Nearby Allandale Farm had no figs, but they did have plums.  Voilà fig and plum tart.

Swiss Chard Tart with Gruyère and Anchovies

Swiss Chard Tart with Anchovies and Gruyere-8143

Ceci n’est pas une quiche.  It’s a Swiss Chard Tart with Gruyère and Anchovies.  Quiche sounds so seventies, like the ubiquitous anonymous “white wine” that came into vogue as an alternative to cocktails during the same Swiss Chard Tart-6674culinary epoch.  Boring.  White.  Food.  But a tart, a tart can play.  Sweet or savory, rich or light, it has no rules beyond the obligatory crust, and inclination to use whatever looks good in the market that day.  And what looked good to us was the Swiss chard. So, yes, this is a savory custard tart, but it’s really about the chard. Oh, and the anchovies. The tart doesn’t taste like anchovies–it tastes like chard, with cream and cheese, and something salty and elusively delicious in the background.

Lazy Man’s Sheet Pan Apple Tart

Although I can manage a country-style loaf of sourdough bread, more refined baking is my Achilles heel.  I avoid making pastry the way I avoid hanging doors or framing windows.  In a post-apocalyptic  world where my survival depended on advanced carpentry skills to keep the zombies out I would muddle through, but in the meantime …