Oh. What a lovely pear!

Image from brianschen.com

My dad has the cutest pear tree in his front garden and every year, around this time, we get a small harvest, ideal for the following pear recipes.

So, before they go wrinkly, don that pinny and get cooking!

Pear tart

Makes 1 tart

For the pastry

  • 200g flour
  • 100g cold butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30g sugar
  • 2 tbsp cold water

For the topping:

  • 3 pears
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 125ml cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  1. Start with the pastry.  Cut the butter into small cubes and mix with the flour.
  2. Use your hands to rub the butter and flour together until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the egg yolk, sugar and water and knead into a firm dough.
  4. Mould the dough into a ball and wrap it in cling-film. Rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
  5.  Meanwhile, peel the pears. Cut them in half and remove the seeds. Now cut into the pear halves and create a fan shape  (carefully cut small wedges into the pear, but without cutting all the way through).
  6. Rub each pear with lemon juice, so that they don’t go brown.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan.
  8. Grease a round cake tin (preferably a spring-form) of around 25cm width. Roll out the dough to a 4mm thickness and lift it into the tin.
  9. Spread the pear halves over the dough and bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Now make the custard: whisk the sugar with the eggs until frothy, add the cream and vanilla essence.
  11. Once your cake has baked for 25 minutes, pour this mix over it and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until nicely golden.

I would recommend baking this tart the day before you wish to eat it – the vanilla flavour particularly grows in-depth and it’s much nicer fully chilled. 

Black pudding and pear

Serves: 4

            Prep Time : 10 mins
            Cooking Time : 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 pears
  • A knob of  butter
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1tsp runny honey
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 8 large slices of black pudding (boudin noir for the French)
  • 1tbsp cider vinegar

Method

  1. Cut each pear into slices.  Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the pears, honey and brown sugar.
  3. Cook, stirring often, for 8–10 minutes, until the pears are softened and slightly caramelised.
  4. Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  5. Wipe out the pan. Add the oil and heat over medium-high heat.
  6. In batches, add the boudin noir and cook, turning once, for about 6 minutes, until slightly crisp. Transfer to the plate.
  7. Add the cider vinegar to the pan with a splash of water and increase the heat to high. Boil until reduced, stirring up the browned bits in the pan with a wooden spoon.
  8. To serve, place spoonful of mash potato on each of the 4 plates.  A layer of watercress, with 2 slices of boudin noir on each atop. Add a layer of pears as a garnish, and lastly a drizzle of the pan juices.

Upside down pear cake

Ingredients       

  • 375g caster sugar
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 4 pears, peeled, halved and cored

Method       

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c/150c fan.
  2. Put 200g of the sugar and 125ml water into an ovenproof 25cm frying pan.
  3. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then turn up the heat and cook without stirring until the syrup caramelises to a golden brown, swirling the pan to even it out if necessary.
  4. Meanwhile, whilst watching the caramel, put the butter, the remaining sugar and flour into the bowl of a food processor, whizz for a couple of seconds, then add the eggs and stop as soon as the mix comes together. (If you don’t have a food processor, cream the butter and sugar by hand, adding the eggs one by one, then mix in the flour.)
  5. Take the caramel off the heat and carefully arrange the pears cut-side down in a single layer over the caramel (this will be the top of the cake when it’s cooked).
  6. Spread the cake mixture in an even layer over the pears in the pan, then bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. The centre should be firm to the touch, the edges should have shrunk a little from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake will come out clean.
  7. Run a knife around the edges to make sure it hasn’t stuck anywhere. Leave it to sit for 2 minutes before turning out. Serve with ice cream.

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