As November approaches, comfort food reigns supreme at the table. Whether the setting is a gourmet restaurant or home cooking, hot, plentiful and hearty dishes are the go-to choices in cold weather. Here, we feature two recipes, from award-winning restaurant chefs, that explore comfort food through different approaches to a fall favorite: a savory, fresh-from-the-oven pie. Michael Mina’s (see full interview and recipe here) is a luxurious and intricate appetizer that can be served with the family. Greg Zanitsch’s appetizer, below, wraps fall fruit in mouthwatering packaging that manages to be both rustic and elegant.
Multi-day preparations and complex recipes can yield delicious results, but Chef Greg Zanitsch’s Beggar’s Purse achieves the same result faster in just one pastry.
Every October, the Beggar’s Purse makes its seasonal entry on the menu at Fig Tree Restaurant in Charlotte, NC At first glance, it’s just an appetizer. The flavorful puff pastry is placed in a pool of warm thyme white butter, with the dough erect at the top to resemble a drawstring bag. Diners seem to hesitate before stepping into the purse with a fork and knife, but the taste of green apple, yellow onion, toasted walnuts and a hint of gorgonzola spreads, smoking and filling the palate with ‘a rich blend of rustic flavors. . There is a strong temptation to tear the purse from its elegant presentation and eat it like an apple.
Zanitsch and his wife and co-owner, Sara, began putting the Beggar’s purse on the menu in the fall of 2005. The couple have run the Fig Tree for 11 years, winning an annual wine list award since 2012. .
Zanitsch started making the handbag while working at Auberge du Soleil in Napa in the mid-90s. He and Sara introduced it to the fig tree to enjoy apple season, but they didn’t. not intend to make it a recurring article. “Customers were asking to be called or emailed when they returned to the menu,” Zanitsch said. “[They] started waiting for it in September, and we love to make them happy. “
At home, making the beggar’s purse for guests is a fun treat, as it is open to a wide range of variations. While he may change the restaurant’s recipe from year to year, Zanitsch has provided a basic version here. Previously, Zanitsch made the purse with mushrooms, pine nuts and brie. This year he added complexity to the purse with a chutney of ginger, apricot jam, cinnamon and brown sugar that complements the nuts and gorgonzola.
A home cook could replace the puff pastry with phyllo dough, wonton wrappers, pancakes – even ready-made dough usually reserved for croissants – or vary the baked ingredients inside the purse. Other chefs have declined duck confit, crab meat in pieces or candied apricot.
In the United States, the beggar’s purse, which is said to be derived from French chaplain pastry – has golden origins. The dish rose to popularity in the 1980s thanks to antics from restaurateurs Barry and the trendy quilted giraffe from Susan Wine in New York City. The bite-sized purse was filled with beluga caviar and crème fraîche, and garnished with edible gold leaf. Dozens of chefs, from Emeril Lagasse to Jean-Georges Vongerichten, imitated the famous aperitif in the following years.
Zanitsch’s homier rendering of the handbag for the fall season is deeply satisfying, as only comfort food can be. Best of all, the dish only requires five minutes of sautéing and 10 minutes of cooking. Kids can easily help mix the ingredients and shape the dough into a properly sized handbag.
With a successful wine pairing, comfort food can turn downright decadent. The versatility of the Beggar’s purse gives home cooks a world of pairing options. This version of the purse, with strong Gorgonzola cheese, begs for German Riesling or Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Zanitsch says. But cut back on the amount of gorgonzola or replace it with another cheese, like brie or camembert, and chardonnay could go very well. Zanitsch says his 2016 recipe, with the addition of chutney, has “more complexity and more wine pairing ability,” and might well stand up to a light red such as believed Beaujolais.
Below, Wine spectator recommends five lush selections from Riesling and Grüner Veltliner who scored 88 points or more.
Recipe: Beggar’s purse with apples and gorgonzola
Recipe courtesy of Chef Greg Zanitsch, The Fig Tree, Charlotte, NC
For the beggar’s purse:
- 2 green apples, diced
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 cup of gorgonzola
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
- 8 sprigs of thyme
- 1 puff pastry
- 1 egg
- 2 ounces of milk
To make the beggar’s purse:
1. Sweat the onion in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 8 sprigs of chopped thyme.
2. When the onion is translucent, add the diced apples and sauté for 4 minutes or until the apples are tender.
3. Cool mixture in a large mixing bowl, then stir in 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola and 1 cup toasted walnuts.
4. Divide the puff pastry into 6 equal portions. Place 1/4 cup of the apple mixture in the center of the puff pastry. Pull the sides of the puff pastry out, making a small pocket. Crimp and seal at the top.
5. Whisk the egg with 2 ounces of milk. Brush the dough with gold and bake at 450 ° F for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Serve over white butter with thyme. For 4 to 6 people
For the white butter:
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1/2 shallot
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 peppercorns
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 ounces of heavy cream
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 8 sprigs of thyme, chopped
To make the white butter:
1. Reduce the cup of white wine by adding the shallot, bay leaf, peppercorns and 2 sprigs of thyme. When the reduction is almost dry, add the heavy cream.
2. Stir in the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining chopped thyme.
Five aromatic whites
To note: The following list is a selection of exceptional and very good wines from recently rated releases. You will find other white wines reviewed over the past year in our wine reviews search.
DOMÄNE WACHAU Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Trocken Wachau Terrassen 2013
Voluptuous and richly spiced, with some honeyed notes with flavors of ripe apple, pear pie and frozen apricot. The mid-palate is seductive and smoky and presents a finish with pastry accents. Drink now until 2021. 6,000 cases made.
WINZER KREMS Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Kremstal Kremser Goldberg Kellermeister Privat 2014
The concentrated and nicely spiced flavors of peach cobbler, glazed apricot and apple pie are rich and well rounded in this medium-bodied white. The finish offers a smoky touch with notes of dried tropical fruits. Drink now through 2022. 5,000 cases made.
ROBERT WEIL Riesling QbA Rheingau Tradition 2014
A rich and lush taste, with many notes of custard with flavors of apple cobbler, red peach and ripe melon. Notes of citrus and spices on the finish, with hints of roasted pineapple. Drink now through 2020. 5,100 cases manufactured.
LAURENZ Five Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Kamptal Friendly 2014
A supple white, with flavors of Gala apple, kiwi and dried mango, revealing a smooth palate. Notes of dried tarragon emerge on the well-balanced finish. Drink now through 2019. 4,000 imported cases.
KONOMIERAT REBHOLZ Riesling QbA Trocken Pfalz 2014
It offers lots of pastry and buttery notes with flavors of ripe apple, pear pie and lemon cream. The vibrant finish has a hint of golden grape and hints of smoke. Drink now through 2018. 350 imported cases.
Get the Lobster Pie Recipe