Saturday 20 November 2010
There are some great pears in season and, rather as in a Tarte Tatin, they are best served simply with good-quality butter puff pastry. The pears are pretty moist as they are, so just serve the tart as it is or with ice-cream or thick Jersey cream.
If you are using very ripe pears, then there is no need to poach them, but if they're a little on the firm side, then poach them a little as below, and you can save the poaching liquid to poach fruits another time – or even drink it.
2 large, ripe pears
150g butter puff pastry, rolled to about one-third of a cm thick
1 egg yolk
A little icing sugar for dusting
For the poaching liquid
250g granulated sugar
2-3cm cinnamon stick
A couple of strips of lemon rind
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. If your pears are on the firm side, peel them, leaving the stalks on, and remove the core with an apple corer or a small, sharp knife.
Put enough water in a saucepan to cover the pears, add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the pears and simmer them for about 30 minutes, or until the pears feel tender when you insert the point of a small knife.
Remove the pears from the liquid and leave to cool. Alternatively, leave to cool in the liquid.
Slice the pears vertically about six times, leaving the stalks on.
Lay the puff pastry on a baking tray and place the pears on top about 8cm apart. Push the pears down to flatten them, then cut around them leaving a 1 cm border of pastry all the way around. Brush the border with egg yolk and then dust the pears with a little icing sugar.
Bake the tarts for about 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and the pears have coloured a little. Serve with thick cream or ice-cream.
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