The only problem is, pears do not last forever. And there are only so many pears one can eat before they start turn brown and mushy.
So I started brainstorming pear-based recipes. I’ve already blogged about my ridiculous love of pears and the many recipes I include them in, so I needed to think up some more plans. This post was a French-inspired one. I love everything about France. I love the people, I love the accents, I love their gardens, their buildings, their art, their FOOD.
This recipe is a celebration of all the ingredients – the chocolate is strong and not too sweet, while the flavours of the pear and raspberry sing together as a result of their time poaching. These three flavours are complemented by the creamy taste and texture of the almond filling to create one of my favourite desserts ever.
It’s also a great recipe for rainy days, which is super convenient, because Sydney is in the middle of some awfully persistent rain! Norman is not liking the weather one iota, and has commandeered a pillow which fell to the floor in protest. That’s partially a lie – he totally loves this weather because people don’t make him go outside as much…he did commandeer the stray pillow though.
Raspberry poached pears:
- 1 cup plain flour
- ¼ cup cocoa
- 75g butter
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3-4 tbsp cold water
- 2/3 cup icing sugar
- 75g butter
- ¾ cup almond meal
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp cocoa
- 1 tbsp milk
Put your water, sugar and raspberries into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally so the sugar dissolves and the mixture does not burn. Peel, core and quarter your pears, add them to the boiling mixture and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until your pears are soft and you can easily slide a fork through them.
While the pears poach, start making your chocolate pastry. Mix your cocoa and plain flour together. Add the butter so that the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the salt and sugar. Add the cold water in one spoon at a time, as you may not need it all – when the mixture all comes together, stop adding water.
Work the dough into a circle with your hands. Turn it in on itself a few times (in place of kneading) until the dough is smooth. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for half an hour.
If you were super prepared you could leave the dough and the raspberry pears to rest overnight. If you’re impatient like me, they can be made on the same day and they’ll still taste fabulous.
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm flan tin – preferably one with a removable base, because this will make things far easier. Roll your dough out to about 5mm on a well-floured surface. Transfer your dough to the greased flan tin and use your fingers to press the dough into the rivets.
If your pastry tears or you can’t do it all in one go, don’t worry, just patch up holes with extra dough, making sure you press all the pieces together so there are no gaps. Prick the base a dozen or so times with a fork.
Cover your dough with baking paper and fill with baking weights (or rice) and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and baking paper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
When the pastry case is cooled, remove the pears from the poaching liquid. Spread the almond cream evenly across the pastry base, then arrange the pear quarters in whatever fashion you like, pressing them into the mixture as you go. Make sure you’re careful with the pears, as they’ll be slippery and soft!
To make the most of the poaching liquid, bring it to a boil then let it simmer for 5-10 minutes so that it reduces to a gorgeous, magenta syrup.