George has had a love of all things culinary from a very young age, and throughout his career, has worked with renowned chefs and food technologists. He discovered his passion for cooking at the age of five after spending time in his grandmother's restaurant. From then on, under his mother's guidance (who is a talented cook of her own accord) George recalls cooking anything his mother would let him, starting out with scrambled eggs and hamburgers and quickly moving on to fine Italian and French dishes.
After many years of honing and perfecting his culinary craft, George still enjoys what he humbly considers: "complimenting my family culinary experience," by taking courses in regional cuisines pertaining to the vegetable ingredient products his family specializes in, namely: Asian, French, Mediterranean, Mexican and Tex Mex.
Because of George's extensive knowledge and passion for food, he is a great resource to customers in helping them find the right ingredients for their recipe needs. "I need to understand what's happening in the kitchen," he explained. "If my client has an unfavorable flavor note, I need to be able to assess the situation to understand why." That extra level of service and care undoubtedly stems from his love of food and his work alike, which fortunately for George, go hand and hand.
For Dried-fruit compote:
3/4 cup grappa
3 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup pitted prunes, halved
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots
For Pastry Dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
For Frangipane filling:
7 ounces almond paste (not marzipan; about 1 cup)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Make Dried-fruit compote:
1 - Heat grappa with sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Add fruit and gently simmer 1 min.
2 - Remove from heat and let macerate, stirring occasionally, 24 hrs.
Make Pastry Dough:
1 - Blend flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture
resembles coarse meal with some small butter lumps.
2 - Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Gently stir with a fork until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful of dough – if it doesn’t hold together, slowly add more water until incorporated.
3 - Divide into 4 portions. With heel of hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together, press into a ball, and then flatten into about a 5-inch disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.
Make Tart Shell:
1 - Set flan ring on a tart pan. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round, then fit into flan ring and trim excess dough. Chill until firm (at least 30 min.).
2 - Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Lightly prick bottom of shell with fork, then line with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until side is set and edge is pale golden, 18-20 min. Remove foil and weights and bake until bottom is golden, 10 min. Let cool 30 min.
Make Frangipane filling and Bake Tart:
1 - Beat almond paste, butter, sugar, extract, and salt in a bowl at medium speed 3 min. Add eggs 1 at a time, then beat in flour.
2 - Spread frangipane filling in shell. Drain fruit in a sieve set over a bowl, reserving syrup, and scatter fruit over filling, pressing in slightly.
3 - Bake until puffed and golden, 30-40 min. Transfer tart to a rack. Brush reserved syrup over tart and cool to room temperature.