Pear and cardamon

October 22, 2010

It is, of course. National Baking Week.

I try with baking,  but it doesn’t  generally respond to my advances. So here’s a kind of halfway house (using frozen pastry means it’s not really baking is it?) – a slightly spicy take on tarte tatin.

I love this time of year for the arrival of autumn fruits, especially pears.  And pears have a few wonderful partners – almonds most obviously, but I reckon cardamon is a fantastic complement. So, I adapted this not-especially traditional recipe from that big sweary chef. Serves four.  

Start off by peeeling and coring four pears and cut into quarters.  Many recipes recommend comice as suitably firm-fleshed, but I prefer the flavour of Williams.

Then make a flavoured syrup.  This is an easy method though you have to keep your nerve in the middle because it looks like it’s going dreadfully wrong.  Put 75g each of sugar and butter into a heavy frying pan and melt on medium heat along with three lightly crushed green cardamon pods. It’ll go a bit yucky but stay with it until the the sugar starts to caramelise and turn brown, stir lightly and eventually the butter separates leaving some sticky toffee.  It might take take around 10 minutes. Then put the pears in, stir and bubble away for 15-20 minutes  – the juice from the pears brings back the butter and toffee into the most gorgeous spiced syrup imaginable.  I also put a star anise in at Big Sweary’s suggestion – who also uses cinnamon –  but actually I think less is more on this occasion.

When the pears have started to turn caramelise, let them cool slightly and put into a steep-sided round dish – about 8 to 10 inches.  Rollout around 300 g of puff pastry to slightly larger than the base of the dish and then drape over the pears and syrup, tucking it under the fruit at the edges as if you were putting them to bed.   Cook for around 30 mins at gas mark 5. Keep an eye on it  and if there’s too much syrup/juice threatening to overwhelm the pastry, you can carefully decant some of it off halfway through.

Once cooled enough, invert carefully onto a plate. Sweet, sticky, spicy – what more do you want?  Best served warmish and with some good thick cream.


4 Responses to “Pear and cardamon”

  1. Charlotte said

    Glad that you’re keeping the side up for National Baking Week. This looks wonderful and pears are a real favourite with me.

    On another note, it’s exactly a year since you started your blog! Congratulations!

    C x


  2. Kevin said

    …which is of course 108 hits per week! Congratulations, Tim.


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