“You don’t choose your family,
they are god’s gift to you, as you are to them.”
Desmond Tutu, South African Cleric
I only have awe and praise for my mother- and father-in-law, as they have brought up confident, well-educated and loving children. Then when they in turn brought home three outlaws, they welcomed us with open arms and loved us in equal measure. Each grandchild offers them differing personalities and they reconcile them with only joy and praise. This is a lesson in life Matt and I seek to replicate.
Pear & Almond Tart, truly heavenly, perfectly balanced and made for sharing.
For the tart pastry: 340g (12oz) plain flour * pinch of salt * 140g (5oz) unsalted butter * 85g (3oz) icing sugar * 2 eggs, beaten
For the filling: 140g (5oz) unsalted butter, softened * 140g (5oz) caster sugar * 1 tsp vanilla extract * 2 large eggs, beaten * 140g (5oz) ground almonds * zest of 1 lemon * 30g (1oz) plain flour * 55g (3oz) caster sugar * 1 vanilla pod * 3 ripe pears, peeled, halved and cored * 3 tbsp apricot jam
Make the pastry: Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips, until soft. Add the icing sugar, then the eggs and mix together. Knead to make a smooth dough. Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and put into the fridge for an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4. Roll out the pastry into a circle on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 25cm/18 inch tart tin. Press into the edge and trim. Line the pastry with a crumpled piece of greaseproof paper and baking beads. Blind bake the pastry for 10 minutes, remove the paper and beads and bake for a further 3-5 minutes or until cooked.
Meanwhile, make the almond filling: Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs gradually and fold in the almonds, lemon zest and flour. Spread three-quarters of the filling in the pastry shell and put the pear halves on top, cut side down and stalk ends in the middle. Fill the gaps with the remaining filling. Bake for 35 minutes or until the filling is golden and firm. Melt the jam with 1 tsp water, sieve out any lumps and brush over the pears to make them shine.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section THE FRENCH COLLECTION, a selection of authentic French recipes.
Perfect after: click on image