Thursday, 4 September 2014

Frangipane and... plain pears

After getting used to some lazy school holiday days, a new class was quite a shock to the system! I should probably mention that I'm a primary school teacher. At the end of every school year, your class have been trained into the role model pupils who can read your every mood, then you have to say your good byes and start again with another lively and unruly bunch. I was hoping not to raise my voice on day one but, in the inspiring words of others teachers 'don't smile until Christmas' and the behaviour will be sorted. Roll on Christmas. It was a lovely surprise to come home and find that T had bought me the new British Bake Off cook book! I'm looking forward to many a new recipe... for now, this has been our pudding this week...

Poached pear and frangipane tart from Bea's of Bloomsbury. Bakewells are one of my favourites so I thought a pear version would be a good treat. However, it turns out the wine is a vital ingredient in poaching...and I didn't use it. The frangipane is tasty in it's almond spongey cakeness but the pears are, well, just pears with the odd tickle from cinnamon (I do love a Christmas spice).

First, blind bake your short crust pastry (yes I cheated and bought it as I had school deadlines to worry about). This doesn't mean cook it without looking, it means it needs baking a little before the filling goes in to prevent 'soggy bottom'.
Next, the pears. So I boiled them for 30minutes in: -
2/3 pan of water
700g caster sugar
grated zest on one orange
vanilla essence
3 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamon pods
2cm fresh ginger
4 pears

All the essence of good flavour. How did it go so wrong! The pears were a good firmness but just didn't hold much flavour.

Anyhow, the frangipane: -
250g butter softened
2 eggs
250g ground almonds
1tbsp cornfour

Mix the butter, sugar and eggs (slowly) in an electric mixer then fold in the almonds and cornflour. Slice the pears (when cooled) into the pastry base and spoon the frangipane around it. bake for 35minutes at 170C. Even though it wasn't reaching its full flavour potential, it has made a good pudding. I do love a frangipane.

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