The Takeaway: Gingered Pear Chutney
Yields 1 cup
If you’re not doing any of the holiday entertaining this year, we suggest a can’t-go-wrong host gift. Steve’s Gingered Pear Chutney tastes great with all manner of cheeses (see Local Shopping), especially if Gabrielle Hamilton’s beautiful cheddar crackers are involved. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, make both. (Christina has been enjoying them in her own kitchen this fall and she urges investing in good cheese and grating it yourself.) Since this is not a traditional preserve, be sure to let your host know that it will keep just about a week in the refrigerator.
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup diced red onion
1 cup chopped firm Anjou or Bartlett pears
1¼ cups apple cider vinegar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup pear nectar
- In a medium saucepan, combine ginger, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
- Add red onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add pears and pear nectar and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes until pears are tender but somewhat firm. You don’t want the pears to lose their shape. Allow mixture to cool.
- Transfer mixture to the work bowl of a food processor and pulse twice until chopped but still chunky.
Cheese Crackers Recipe by Gabrielle Hamilton from The New York Times
1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup loosely packed grated Cabot Farms Vermont white Cheddar (about 3 ounces)
⅔ cup loosely packed grated pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 ounce)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
⅓ cup pecans, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons untoasted white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons ice water
- Add the flour, both cheeses, salt and cayenne to the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until combined.
- Scatter the cold butter chunks on top, and pulse again to form coarse crumbs.
- Add egg yolk, pecans and seeds, and pulse to combine thoroughly, yielding a coarse grainy meal.
- Transfer mixture to a large stainless-steel bowl. Sprinkle the ice water on top, and knead briefly to bring the dough together, as you would a pie dough.
- Divide the dough into thirds, and roll each into a neat, 8-inch-long cylinder that is about the width of a silver dollar. Wrap each log in plastic wrap, and twist the ends tightly in opposite directions, forming a perfect and compact torchon. Refrigerate until well chilled and completely firm; overnight is ideal.
- Heat the oven to 375. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Unwrap the dough, discarding plastic wrap, and slice the logs into thin coins, each about the width of a pencil.
- Arrange the coins in neat rows on the prepared sheets, making sure they’re not quite touching one another. This dough won’t expand or flatten after baking.
- Bake until golden at their centers and just starting to toast at their edges, about 20 minutes. Check them midway through baking, and rotate sheets if your oven bakes unevenly.
- Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks to cool. Once they are fully cooled, transfer coins to an airtight container, where they will keep for up to 3 weeks.