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Crostini with Pecorino, Pear, Hazelnuts, and Rosemary

With holiday office parties and family get-togethers upon us, I wanted to share a recipe by my eminently talented foodie friend, Emily Gold, with whom I collaborated to shoot some recipes for Culture Magazine last year. (See the related blog post here). And I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to another foodie friend and Editor Elaine Khosrova for styling and art-direction. I really enjoy collaborative efforts in the studio and plan on doing a lot more in the coming months.) Enjoy!

Crostini

 

This freeform recipe casually pairs savory, sweet, herbaceous, and nutty elements. It’s important to use a really exceptional pear jam or butter that is not too sweet. Simple to assemble, it makes for an extremely toothsome and wine-friendly snack. The recipe is inspired by an autumn specialty from Eric Warnstedt at Hen of the Wood, in Waterbury, Vermont, that combines Bonnieview Farm Coomersdale cheese with honey-roasted pears, grilled bread, and hazelnuts. 

Serves 4 to 8

1 baguette or sourdough loaf

Olive oil

¼ cup hazelnuts

1 stalk fresh rosemary

Pear jam, pear butter, or apple butter

Young pecorino or medium-aged sheep’s milk cheese

Heat oven to 350ºF. Cut bread into ½-inch-thick slices. Brush both sides with a little bit of olive oil. Place on a sheet pan, and bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake another 10 minutes. At the same time put the hazelnuts on a separate sheet pan and bake with the crostini for the second 10-minute stretch.

When the crostini come out of the oven lightly brown and crisp, rub one side of each slice with the rosemary. Little pieces of the leaves will break off onto the crostini, which is what you want.

Let the hazelnuts cool, then rub off skins. Chop coarsely and set aside.

Spread a thin layer of pear jam on each crostini, and top with slivers of pecorino (use a vegetable peeler for thin, uniform pieces). Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until cheese gently droops over jam. Remove from oven and top with hazelnuts.

Pairing suggestion: Pinot noir or Trousseau, such as the Arbois Rouge 2010 Trousseau Les Bérangères

(Note: for more info on Emily, check out her Website: www.papercakescissors.com)

An Afternoon in Emily’s Kitchen

I recently had the chance to do a shoot with Emily Gold in her kitchen as she prepared the latest batch of goodies for the Walloomsac Farmers’ Market. We had been discussing a shoot for a while to help her promote her pastry business, Paper Cake Scissors, and last weekend the stars (and schedules) aligned and I was able to go to her house in Pownal, VT to shoot some in-process and finished goods.

What I love about Emily’s approach to cooking and preparation is how she combines her love of food and flavors, and thoughtfully blends ingredients in a way that richly layers complexity into the cookies, cakes, breads, pies and candies using infused ingredients. The result is truly unique baked goods. Some of the shots were of her homemade ingredients on the shelf, like rose sugar, and rosemary-infused salts. She combines and contrasts different flavors with poetic fervor.

Just to give you an idea of the variety from the shoot (not all shown here): Ginger Spice Cookies; Intense Chocolate Cookies (and intense doesn’t begin to describe, but the infused vanilla salt balanced the chocolate nicely); Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti; Almond Biscotti with rosemary and orange zest, dipped in Callebaut chocolate; Spiced Coconut Whoopie Pies with chocolate ganache; Meyer Lemon Pound Cake; Elephant Bars (layered peanut butter and chocolate), Whole Wheat Chocolate Chippers; Whiskey-infused Caramels made with buckwheat honey. In a word, yum.

But don’t take my word for it, visit her stand at the Walloomsac Farmers’ Market in Bennington, Vermont and try these incredible flavors for yourself!

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Almond biscotti with rosemary and orange zest, dipped in Callebaut chocolate.

Rose Petal Madeleines

Rosemary-infused Valencia peels.

Icing the Meyer Lemon Pound Cake

Spiced coconut whoopie pies with chocolate ganache.

Whiskey-infused caramels, made with buckwheat honey and vanilla infused salt

Elephant bars, layered chocolate and peanut butter.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with vanilla infused salt