Spring is here! It’s time to say goodbye to my beloved pears, apples and strawberries (I know that sounds bizarre to some of you but strawberry season here is in the winter). That’s fine: mangoes and watermelons arrive to make me happy – and stone fruit is just around the corner.
One last pear recipe to celebrate the end of winter while I search for recipes with a spring feeling... :)
Little almond crostate with roast pears
slightly adapted from the always gorgeous Australian Gourmet Traveller
Pastry (almond pasta frolla):
60g natural almonds
180g all purpose flour
100g unsalted butter, cold and coarsely chopped
60g icing sugar, sifted
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2/3 cup (160ml) whole milk
3 pieces lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
2 egg yolks
½ cup (100g) superfine sugar
50g unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (50g) almond meal
1 teaspoon dark rum
8 small ripe pears, such as Corella, halved, core removed with a melon baller – I used very small pears called “Ercolini”
¾ cup (150g) superfine sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
Start with the pastry (almond pasta frolla): process almonds and 50g flour in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter, sugar, zest, remaining flour and salt, process until fine crumbs form. Add egg mixture, process until mixture just comes together, turn onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly until smooth. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate to rest (1-2 hours).
Meanwhile, prepare the almond cream: bring milk and zest to the simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk yolks and ¼ cup (50g) of the sugar in a bowl to dissolve sugar. Add milk mixture, whisk to combine, return to pan, whisking continuously until thick and smooth (2-3 minutes), then remove zest and cool completely. Beat butter and remaining ¼ cup (50g) sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (1-2 minutes), add almond meal, rum and cooled custard, set aside at room temperature.
Now, the pears: preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Place pears, cut-side up, in a roasting pan that fits pears snugly. Scatter with sugar and lemon zest, drizzle with lemon juice and dot with butter, making sure to include one in each cavity. Roast, basting occasionally, until pears are tender and edges are golden (35-40 minutes). Keep warm.
Bake the tartlets: lightly butter eight 9cm-diameter tart pans. Divide pastry into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, and keeping other pieces refrigerated, roll on between two pieces of lightly floured baking paper into 3mm-thick rounds and line the prepared pans with them. Prick pastry all over with a small fork. Divide almond cream among tartlet and bake until golden (35-40 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature with roast pears and syrup.
Crostate are best eaten on day of making.
Makes 8 – I halved the recipe above, used 9cm tartlet pans and still got 6 tartlets