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!
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
- Start with the pastry. Cut the butter into small cubes and mix with the flour.
- Use your hands to rub the butter and flour together until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolk, sugar and water and knead into a firm dough.
- Mould the dough into a ball and wrap it in cling-film. Rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
- 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).
- Rub each pear with lemon juice, so that they don’t go brown.
- Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan.
- 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.
- Spread the pear halves over the dough and bake for 25 minutes.
- Now make the custard: whisk the sugar with the eggs until frothy, add the cream and vanilla essence.
- 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
- 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
- Cut each pear into slices. Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the pears, honey and brown sugar.
- Cook, stirring often, for 8–10 minutes, until the pears are softened and slightly caramelised.
- Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Wipe out the pan. Add the oil and heat over medium-high heat.
- In batches, add the boudin noir and cook, turning once, for about 6 minutes, until slightly crisp. Transfer to the plate.
- 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.
- 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
- 375g caster sugar
- 150g butter, softened
- 200g self-raising flour
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 4 pears, peeled, halved and cored
- Preheat the oven to 170c/150c fan.
- Put 200g of the sugar and 125ml water into an ovenproof 25cm frying pan.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.