This is a super simple dessert to make but the flavours are subtle and sophisticated.
50 g salted butter
50 g soft light brown sugar
25 g almond paste
6 pears, peeled, halved and cored
230 g ready rolled short pastry
- Heat the oven to 190C.
- Put the butter and sugar in a 24 cm round fixed bottomed metal flan tin.
- Heat over a medium flame for about 4 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Remove from the heat.
- Press a small piece of almond paste into pear half.
- Arrange the pear halves decoratively in the tin, cut sides up.
- Place the pastry over the pears, tucking in the edges and pressing around the fruit a bit.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin on a rack for 10 minutes then invert on to a plate.
- Cut into 8 wedges and serve with salted butter caramel icecream.
Almond paste is readily available in any French supermarket. It comes in plain or mixed packets of pink, green and plain. The flavour is the same no matter what the colour. If you can't get it you can substitute marzipan, but it has a stronger flavour that many people don't like. You could also use a dollop of frangipane.
Pears do very well in the Touraine and many people, including me, have a pear tree in their orchard. Once my own are used up I would turn to my local organic orchardists, Fruits O Kalm, on the edge of town at the Ferme de la Petite Rabaudière. Every year I am lucky enough to get a bag of organic pears from the gardens at the Chateau of Villandry too.