Johannesburg - Pears are abundant now. An underrated fruit, they can be roasted, used raw in salads or baked in cakes. Pears pair nicely with spices, cheeses or chocolate. Here are six great recipes from Angela Day.
CHEAT’S PEAR AND ALMOND TART
90g butter, softened
125ml castor sugar
250ml ground almonds
3ml baking powder
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 to 2 pears thickly sliced lengthwise
15ml lemon juice
80ml brown sugar
45ml apricot jam, melted
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until just combined.
Add the eggs, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and lemon rind and process until combined.
Spoon mixture into a well-greased, loose-bottom, fluted tart tin.
Place the pears, lemon juice and brown sugar in a bowl and toss to coat.
Press the pears into the tart mixture and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the tart comes out clean.
Remove from the oven. Cool slightly then remove from the tin. Brush with warm apricot jam.
PEARS IN PUFF PASTRY
4 pears, peeled and halved
2 rooibos tea bags
60ml lemon juice
2 rolls of bought puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Place a pear half on a piece of paper and draw a template of the shape about 1cm bigger than the pear. Cut it out.
Unroll one sheet of the pastry and cut out 8 shapes of the template. Place on a tray and refrigerate.
Unroll the remaining roll of pastry and roll a lattice cutter across the pastry. Return to the fridge.
If you don’t have a lattice cutter, the pear halves can be covered with thin strips of puff pastry.
Put the pears in a pot. Add the tea bags, sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until pears are soft.
Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and drain well.
Boil the cooking liquid until reduced, thick and syrupy.
Take the pear shape cut-out pastry from the fridge. Place the pear cut side down on this. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg.
Take the lattice cut pastry from the fridge and drape each pear with a piece. Press down the edges to seal.
Brush with egg and bake at 190°C for 20 to 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve with the reduced cooking liquid.
PEAR AND GINGER TRAY BAKE
Makes 20 to 30 squares
125ml treacle brown sugar
2-3 pears, peeled and halved lengthwise
200g butter, softened
180ml castor sugar
250ml golden syrup
900ml cake flour
7ml bicarbonate of soda
7ml ground cinnamon
10ml ground ginger
pinch of salt
300ml hot water
1 pear, diced
60ml chopped glacé ginger
Line the base of a 30x40cm roasting tin with baking paper. Sprinkle the base with brown sugar and place the pear halves cut-side down on top.
Cream butter and castor sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the syrup.
Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt, then add to creamed mixture with hot water. Beat until the mixture is smooth. Mix in the diced pear and glacé ginger.
Pour mixture over the pears and bake at 160°C for 40 to 60 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove and cool in the tin. Turn out and cut into squares to serve.
CHOCOLATE PEAR PUDDINGS
5ml baking powder
100g chocolate, melted
400g tin of baby pears, drained
chocolate sauce for serving
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Grease ramekin or oven-proof espresso cups.
Combine all the ingredients except the pears in a food processor and blitz until combined.
Spoon the mixture halfway into the ramekins and press in a baby pear.
Bake for 10 to 20 minutes or until set.
Remove and serve immediately with chocolate sauce.
PEAR AND CURRIED CASHEW SALAD
250ml cashew nuts, halved
15ml melted butter
5ml chopped fresh rosemary
5ml curry powder
15ml brown sugar
5ml coarse salt
2ml cayenne pepper
1 packet mixed lettuce leaves
2 firm pears, halved and thinly sliced
300g smoked chicken breast fillets, sliced
125ml seedless red grapes, halved
45ml white wine vinegar
30ml Dijon mustard
80ml olive oil
In a large, dry pan over medium-high heat, toast cashews until golden brown for about 5 minutes. Remove to a dish and cool slightly.
In a bowl, stir butter, rosemary, curry powder, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. Add to the cashew nuts and stir to combine.
Arrange lettuce on a serving platter, followed by the pears, smoked chicken, grapes and curried cashews.
Pour over the dressing and serve.
DRESSING: In a small jug, stir together the vinegar, mustard and honey. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT, PEAR AND BRIE QUICHE
Serves 6 to 8
1 packet of ready-made shortcrust pastry
30ml olive oil
500g butternut, diced and roasted
3 pears, diced
1 red onion, finely diced
250g streaky bacon, diced
100g brie cheese, diced
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of cayenne pepper
80ml finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper
Line a 25cm quiche pan with the pastry. Blind bake the pastry for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.
On a baking tray, drizzle the butternut with half the olive oil and roast for 15 minutes. Add the pears and roast for a further 10 minutes until the butternut is soft. Remove and cool.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan, fry the onion until translucent and add the bacon. Fry for 10 minutes. Combine with the butternut and pears and fill the pastry shell with the mixture. Dot with brie.
In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk well. Pour over the prepared vegetable mixture in the pastry shell. Top with extra parsley and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set.
Serve warm or cold.
Angela Day, The Star