(Theguardian) – Plunder the bounty of autumn with this frangipane tart and a simple poached pear porridge
he berries of summer have gone and the jewels of winter – blood orange, pomegranate and neon forced rhubarb – are yet to come. Now is the time for orchard fruits to shine: pears of all shapes and sizes – red blush, conference, williams – are at their peak. I roast them with potatoes and parsnips for Sunday lunch, or toss through warm winter salads.
Here are two other pear favourites: thinly sliced and sweetened with maple syrup to cheer morning porridge, and centre stage in a frangipane tart.
Pear, pistachio and cardamom tart
A good frangipane tart takes some beating. This one uses pistachios as well as almonds, and is flavoured with lime and cardamom. Of course, if you’re in a hurry, you could use shop-bought sweet pastry. Apples would work well instead of pears.Advertisement
Prep 45 min
Chill 1 hr
Cook 1 hr 10 min
For the pastry
250g plain or light spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
50g unbleached icing sugar
125g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, or coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
1 orange, zested (optional)
1 large free-range egg, beaten
1 splash milk
For the honey frangipane
150g ground or blanched almonds
100g unsalted shelled pistachios
250g golden caster sugar
2 large free-range or organic eggs
2 tbsp plain or light spelt flour
Zest of 2 unwaxed limes
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp ground cardamom (or the ground seeds from 12 pods)
2 large pears, cored and thinly sliced
Honey, warmed, for brushing
Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles to a coarse breadcrumbs. Grate in the orange zest, add the eggs and milk, then, using your hands, gently work into a ball of dough – you can also make the pastry in a food processor. Remember not to overwork the pastry too much at this stage or it will be chewy. Wrap tightly and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.Advertisement
Butter a 22cm, nonstick loose-bottomed tart tin. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface, turning every so often, to about ½cm thick. Carefully roll it around the rolling pin, then unroll over the tin. Ease the pastry into the tin, pushing it into the .Trim any excess, prick the base all over with a fork and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/gas 4. Cut a large square of greaseproof paper, scrunch it up, then unwrap and use it to line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, fill right to the top with baking beans or rice, and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking beans/rice (you can save the rice to use for blind baking another time) and greaseproof paper, then return the pastry case to the oven for 10-12 minutes, until firm and almost biscuit-like. Leave to cool.
While the pastry case is cooling, make the frangipane. Put the nuts in a food processor, blitz the nuts to a powder, then transfer to a bowl. Put the butter and sugar in the processor and mix until soft, then add the eggs one by one. Return the blitzed nuts to the processor with the flour, lime zest, vanilla and cardamom, and pulse until you haveto a smooth, thick paste.
Pour the frangipane into the cooled pastry case and top with pear slices fanned in circles. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the frangipane is set and golden brown – if the pastry edges are browning too quickly, cover with foil. Leave to cool before taking out of the tin and brushing with a little warm honey. Serve with coconut or natural yoghurt or creme fraiche and a drizzle more honey.
Maple syrup pears and porridge
Pears, maple syrup and spice are my winter go-to. The pears cook in the time it takes for the porridge to blip away. Apples would also work here.
Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
1 cup rolled oats (about 85g)
1 cup milk (I use oat)
1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds, plus extra for serving
1 large pinch ground cinnamon or ground cardamom
For the maple pears
2 pears, cored and
1 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra to serve
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch ground cardamom
Put the oats in a pan with two cups of water (using the same measure as you used for the oats) and a pinch of salt, and simmer over a low heat for eight to 10 minutes, or until the oats are tender. Stir in the milk, seeds and cinnamon, and warm through.
Meanwhile, heat the pears and maple syrup in a separate pan over a medium heat for five minutes until just warmed through, then stir in the spices. Serve the porridge topped with the warm pears, an extra drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of toasted seeds.