September 7, 2015 — Dairy
‘Dad says if you only make one dish on this site, make it this one. Big words!’
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Pears and syrup
800g of small – nearly ripe – pears
200g golden caster sugar 1 star anise, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, zest of half an orange
Juice of half a lemon
150g soft unsalted butter
75g icing sugar
1 medium egg
250g plain white flour
Pinch of salt
125g ground almonds
125g soft unsalted butter
125g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs
60g plain white flour
The equivalent of two 18cm x 3cm tart tins
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Our neighbour popped-in with a large bag of pears from a tree in their garden.
They were conference pears, very small and still very hard. I was very grateful of course, but wondered how I was going to use them.
Meanwhile, I bought a Marcus Wareing book (second-hand), ‘One Perfect Ingredient – three ways to cook it’. Should be right up my street. (I do like the idea of thinking about cooking single ingredients in different ways for culinary enlightenment, as testified by my 3-way ventures with octopus and artichokes.) The best photo in the book is of a pear tart – where, rather like blackbirds, the pears are poking out from the frangipane attracting attention with their dark stalks sticking up in the air! I was tempted to copy this, but realised that I needed new baking rings and a very different type of pear.
I decided on my own pattern – the tarts don’t look too bad and according to Mrs WDC, were ‘seriously good’. We gave one of our tarts to our neighbours, who were delighted to see their pears returned in this new sweet format.
Frangipane is traditionally made with almonds. But the idea is based on a sweet mixture of nuts, butter and eggs with a bit of flour – so any ground nut will work. I have seen many variations including macadamia frangipane recipes from Australia. Pine nuts for Italian versions. Pistachios would make a great tasting frangipane, but the mixture becomes an unappetising dull grey-green colour. Marcus Wareing uses walnuts (see below). I would be interested to taste the difference between all types of nuts, but getting these tarts right is challenge enough, without adding extra complications. Here is a good version using a basic frangipane and our lovely neighbour’s pears:
A perfect winter warmer – Cassoulet!
Try Dad’s loaded low-fat salsa quesadillas with The Laughing Cow Lightest x8 cheese.
An excellent way to turn a popular Italian slow food standard into an easy and quicker family classic.
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