Part 1 of this Alsatian meal, featuring foie gras and escargot in vol-au-vents, is at The Food & Wine of Alsace Class 3 Part 1.
Munster Valley Pie
The next course in our Alsatian menu was ‘Munster Valley Pie‘, a pork pie done Alsace-style with Munster cheese and licoricey tarragon.
- for the pork pie, we started off by making the pastry crust. Here the butter is being cut into the flour. Then the mixture was processed, and once ‘smooth’, an egg added through the feeding tube, followed by a few drops of cold water. The processor was stopped once the dough had formed into a ball.
- the next step in making the pork pie was to prepare the filling, starting with pork tenderloin cut into small cubes…
- bread crumbs were mixed with the diced pork…
- to the bread crumbs and pork were added a quarter cup of Madeira, milk, tarragon, diced boiled potatoes, Munster cheese, fried onion, garlic, egg and spices
- after being refrigerated for at least 10 minutes, the pastry was rolled out in two pieces. The larger bottom portion was draped over the pie pan, and then filled with the pork mixture.
- the smaller top portion of pastry was placed on top of the pork pie and a neat trick: a rolling pin was applied along the edge of the pie plate to trim off the excess pastry.
- the Munster Valley pork pie was brushed with egg yolk, decorated and then baked.
- the wine selected to go with the pork pie was a well-aged (2002) Pinot Noir from the Alsace region. Like the Foie Gras we had in the first part of this meal, this $80 bottle of wine isn’t likely to grace my table any time soon but I really enjoyed it, especially with the pork pie. It started off ’stinky’ of truffles and earth, with soft Madeira notes but tasted and smelled waaaay better after a bite or two of the pork pie.
Seafood Sylvaner Choucroute
Choucroute is the French version of sauerkraut, very popular in the German-influenced Alsace region where cabbage grows all winter long. Chef Eric’s version had masses of different fish and seafoods, wine, onions, and potatoes in a wine cream sauce. This dish requires what the French call ‘mise en place’, where all of the many ingredients were prepared ahead. Once everything was ready the final dishes were assembled.
- juniper berries were the surprise ingredient in the choucroute
- the juniper berries were sauteed with onions, garlic and a few bay leaves…
- the choucroute and wine were combined with the onion mixture, and then smoked herring was placed on top to keep both warm while the rest of the dish was prepped
- browning the white fish fillets
- the salmon fillets were also browned
- the ‘mise en place’, where all of the ingredients have prepared ahead and are now ready to assemble.
- puff pastry toppers were made from the excess dough left over from the ‘vol-au-vents‘ used for the escargot appetizer from part 1 of this third class.
- the finished Seafood Sylvaner Choucroute, served with the Sylvaner wine that also accompanied our escargot appetizer
Dessert for this banquet was Fromage Blanc Tart. Within a fabulous crust was a rich fromage blanc/crème fraîche/egg filling. Again, not too sweet seems to be the keyword for most of the French desserts.
With it we had another essential French experience: Eau-de-Vie Poire Williams.
FOOD & WINE OF THE ALSACE
Class 1 Part 1: Our first cooking class in Alsatian food started with a very French Asparagus, Orange and Crab Salad, followed by Onion and Bacon Tart.
Class 1 Part 2: The main dish of the evening, Chicken & Cabbage & Prunes in Riesling was served with Alsace ‘Grand Cru’. Dessert overload began with a Kirsch Soufflé served with a Muscat followed by a Beer Sorbet with Läckerli Cookies.
Class 2 Part 1: Sauerkraut Soup with Smoked Sausage, Tarte Flambée or ‘Flammekueche’, and ‘Baeckenofe with Sweet and Sour Cabbage’ plus Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Class 2 Part 2: ‘Grilled Munster Cheese Salad’ with a Pinot Auxerrois and for dessert, ‘Apple Tart with Kirsch Crème Anglaise’
Class 3 Part 1: foie gras on toast with fresh fig along with the Alsace Grand Cru Gewürztraminer, and escargot in vol-au-vents paired with a Sylvaner.
This post, Class 3 Part 2: ‘Munster Valley Pie‘, a pork pie done Alsace-style with a well-aged Pinot Noir, Seafood Sylvaner Choucroute, and for dessert, Fromage Blanc Tart, and with it another essential French experience: Eau-de-Vie Poire Williams.