RECIPES: THOMAS KELLER'S RATATOUILLE AND MORE

  • Updated: February 20, 2008 - 2:09 PM

THOMAS KELLER'S RATATOUILLE

Serves 4 to 6.

• 1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed

• 1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed

• 1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed

• 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, divided

• 1/2 c. finely diced yellow onion

• 3 tomatoes (about 12 oz.), peeled, seeded and finely diced, juices reserved

• 1 sprig fresh thyme

• 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley

• 1/2 bay leaf

• 1 zucchini (4 to 5 oz.) sliced in 1/16-in. rounds

• 1 Japanese eggplant (4 to 5 oz.), sliced into 1/16-in. rounds

• 1 yellow squash (4 to 5 oz. ), sliced into 1/16-in. rounds

• 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-in. rounds

• 1/8 tsp. dried thyme leaves

• 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the peppers cut side down on a foil-lined sheet. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.

Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juices, fresh thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.

Add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt and discard herbs. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

Reduce the heat in the oven to 275 degrees.

Down the center of the skillet arrange a strip of alternating slices of zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash and Roma tomatoes, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap the vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled.

Mix 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons olive oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the vegetables.

Cover pan with foil and seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.

For the final topping combine the reserved tablespoon of sauce with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Drizzle around plate. Serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving of 6:

Calories 145 Cholesterol 0 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g Sodium 9 mg

Protein 2 g Calcium 25 mg

Fat 10 g Dietary fiber 3 g

Saturated fat 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 vegetable, 2 1/2 fat.

FOOLPROOF VODKA PIE DOUGH

Makes one 9-inch double-crust pie.

Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor -- do not substitute. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require a little more flour to roll out.

• 2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, divided

• 1 tsp. table salt

• 2 tbsp. sugar

• 12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-in. slices

• 1/2 c. cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces

• 1/4 c. cold vodka

• 1/4 c. cold water

Directions

Process 11/2 cups flour, salt and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds, and there should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

DEEP DISH APPLE PIE º

Serves 8 to 10 (one 9-inch pie).

Use a combination of tart and sweet apples for this pie. Good choices for tart are Granny Smiths, Empires or Cortlands; for sweet, we recommend Golden Delicious, Jonagolds or Braeburns.

• 1/2 c. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar

• 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• 1/2 tsp. grated zest from 1 lemon

• 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

• 2 1/2 lb. firm tart apples (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices

• 2 1/2 lb. firm sweet apples (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices

• 1 recipe Foolproof All-Butter Pie Pastry

• 1 egg white, beaten lightly

Directions

Mix 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, lemon juice and zest and cinnamon in large bowl; add apples and toss to combine.

Transfer apples to Dutch oven (do not wash bowl) and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are tender when poked with fork but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. (Apples and juices should gently simmer during cooking.)

Transfer apples and juices to rimmed baking sheet and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. While apples cool, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place empty rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out between 2 large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. (If dough becomes soft and/or sticky, return to refrigerator until firm.)

Remove parchment from one side of dough and flip onto 9-inch pie plate; peel off second layer of parchment. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll second disk of dough between 2 large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate, leaving dough between parchment sheets, until firm, about 30 minutes.

Set large colander over now-empty bowl; transfer cooled apples to colander. Shake colander to drain off as much juice as possible (cooked apples should measure about 8 cups); discard juice. Transfer apples to dough-lined pie plate; sprinkle with lemon juice.

Remove parchment from one side of remaining dough and flip dough onto apples; peel off second piece of parchment. Pinch edges of top and bottom dough rounds firmly together. Trim and seal edges of dough, then cut four 2-inch slits in top of dough. Brush surface with beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly with remaining teaspoon sugar.

Set pie on preheated baking sheet; bake until crust is dark golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool at least 1 1/2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

Nutrition information per serving of 10:

Calories 380 Cholesterol 39 mg

Carbohydrates 60 g Sodium 400 mg

Protein 3 g Calcium 24 mg

Fat 15 g Dietary fiber 3 g

Saturated fat 9 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 fruit, 1 bread/starch, 1 other carb, 3 fat.

AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE

Serves 8.

• 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

• 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

• 1/4 c. cornstarch

• 1/8 tsp. salt

• 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

• 2 c. 2 percent or whole milk

• 1/2 c. evaporated milk

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 2 tbsp. butter

• 4 oz. good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

• 1 to 2 teaspoons brandy

• 1 graham cracker coated pie shell

• 1 c. heavy cream

• 2 tbsp. powdered sugar

• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Whisk sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan. Add yolks, then immediately but gradually whisk in milk and evaporated milk. Drop in vanilla.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently at first, then constantly as mixture starts to thicken and begins to simmer, 8 to 10 minutes. Once mixture simmers, continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer. Remove pan from heat; whisk in butter, chocolate and brandy.

Pour filling into shallow pan (another pie pan works well). Put plastic wrap directly over filling surface to prevent skin from forming; cool until warm, about 30 minutes. Pour warm filling into pie shell and, once again, place sheet of plastic wrap directly over filling surface. Refrigerate pie until completely chilled, at least 3 hours.

Whip cream to soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; continue to whip to barely stiff peaks. Spread over filling and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 515 Cholesterol 180 mg

Carbohydrates 53 g Sodium 190 mg

Protein 8 g Calcium 168 mg

Fat 32 g Dietary fiber 20 g

Saturated fat 15 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1 1/2 other carb, 6 1/2 fat.

GRAHAM CRACKER PIE CRUST

Makes one (9-inch) pie.

• 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 tbsp. sugar

• 6 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

• 4 tbsp. chilled all-vegetable shortening

• 3 to 4 tbsp. ice water

• 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

Directions

Mix flour, salt and sugar in food processor fitted with the steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little of the flour. Cut butter into flour with five 1-second pulses.

Add shortening; continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no larger than a small pea, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the water over mixture. Using rubber spatula, fold water into flour mixture, then repeatedly press down on dough mixture with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more water if dough will not come together.

Shape dough into ball with hands, then flatten into 4-inch wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes before rolling.

Generously sprinkle 18-inch work area with 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs. Remove dough from wrapping and place in center of work area. Scatter a few more crumbs over disk top. Roll dough from center to edges to make 9-inch disk, rotating a quarter turn after each stroke and sprinkling additional crumbs underneath and on top, as necessary, to heavily coat dough. Flip dough and continue to roll, without rotating, into 13-inch disk just under 1/2-inch thick.

Fold dough in quarters, then place dough point in center of 9-inch Pyrex pie pan. Unfold dough to cover pan completely, with excess dough draped over pan lip. Trim crust.

Refrigerate dough until firm, about 30 minutes. Prick shell at intervals to keep dough from ballooning during baking. Press a doubled 12-inch square of aluminum foil inside pie shell. Prick foil to prevent further ballooning. Refrigerate to let dough relax, at least 30 minutes longer.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake, checking occasionally for ballooning, until crust is firmly set, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, remove foil and continue to bake until crust is crisp and golden brown in color, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

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