We have 2 Concorde Pear trees in the Orchard at Croan, just behind Alder and Beech Cottages. The Concorde is a lovely pear which will ripen on the tree, even in Ireland. My favourite time to eat them is in late September when they are still quite hard but are just starting to soften!
The one planted against the Walled Garden wall has been very slow to establish itself and this year we got just 4 pears from it.
The other tree is a standard variety and has grown to a good size now. This year it was laiden down with fruit.
Last week’s wind saw most of the pears knocked from the tree and so we had an excuse to try some new recipes to use up the bounty.
This recipe was my favourite, and was delicious warm with custard and is still nice cold with a cup of coffee!
We really should have taken a photo of the finished product BEFORE we started eating it – sorry about that!
For the Pear and Almond filling
- 175g butter, slightly softened
- 175g caster sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 25 g crushed almonds
- 15g flaked almonds
- 75g self raising flour
- 2 free-range eggs, beaten lightly
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 or 4 ripe (but not squishy) pears
- juice of 1/2 lemon
For the Sweetpastry base
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 150g butter, chilled, and cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon of very cold water
Make the base first to give it time to cool a little.
- To make the pastry, put the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Mix the egg and water together and while the food processor is still running slowly add the liquid slowly to the flour mixture. Turn off the motor as soon as the dough forms a ball. Pop the pastry in a sandwich bag and leave it in the freezer for 15 – 20 minutes to cool.
- While it is cooling butter a 25cm tart tin and preheat the oven to 18o°C.
- Roll out the cool pastry on a well-floured surface until it is quite thin – maybe 5mm in thickness. Wrap the rolled pastry gently around the rolling pin to help you lift it onto to the tart tin.
- Tuck the pastry into the tin and trim off the excess (let the kids use this to make simple biscuit shapes). Be sure to prick the base pastry with a fork 5 or 6 times.
- You need to bake this base blind which means that you should cover the pastry with grease proof paper and fill this with unpopped popcorn or proper baking beans.
- Pop it into the oven for 17 minutes then remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and leave it somewhere to cool.
- While it is cooling make up the filling mixture.
- In the food processor, blend the butter and sugar until it is pale and soft. Add the ground and crushed almonds. Each of the types of Almond has an important job – the ground Almonds add flavour through the mixture while the larger crushed Almonds give a nice bite to the mix.
- Add the flour, eggs and vanilla extract and blend futher in the mixer.
- When the pastry tray is cooled, spread the almond mixture evenly inside it.
- Peel and core the pears and cut them into quarters. Pour the lemon juice over the pear quarters in a bowl and make sure each piece gets a good coating.
- Arrange the pear quarters on top of the Almond mixture and press them lightly into the mix. I find that it works best if the pears pieces point toward the middle and are round side up.
- Bake the tart for 30 minutes then sprinkle the flaked almonds on top before returning the cake to the oven for another 35 minutes or until the centre of the tart is golden brown.
Enjoy warm with cutard or cream!