French Chef Michel Bernard Platz, co-owner with Jose Sanabria of Out of Flower cooking school and specialty catering in Dallas, recommends traditional Alsatian fare. In Alsae, the Yuletide dinner starts with an onion and leek tart, followed by a hearty one-dish creation called Baeckaoffa served with walnut bread. For dessert, try an Alsatian Cheese Tart.
Sweet Pie Dough
4 c. cake flour
5 oz. (5/8 cup) sugar
2 1/2 sticks butter
1 whole egg
dash of lemon juice
pinch of fresh vanilla bean seeds (or 2-3 drops vanilla extract)
Mix all ingredients well, without overworking dough. Allow dough to rest 30 minutes.
16 oz. fromage blanc (you can substitute farmer's or ricotta cheese)
6 oz. (3/4 cup) heavy cream
4 large eggs, separated
2 T. kirsch (cherry liqueur)
6 to 8 oz. (3/4 to 1 cup) sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough on floured surface and line bottom and sides of a 9-inch to 10-inch pie pan with it.
Beat fromage blanc and cream together in a bowl; add egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, kirsch, and lemon rind. Mix thoroughly until very smooth. Beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the batter.
Pour the batter into the pastry-lined pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until slightly puffed and very brown. Cool tart completely, then chill for several hours before cutting.
From the January 1993 issue.