Pear and Almond tart

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Pudding Recipe = Pear and Almond tart - serves 10

Shortcrust pastry

120g cake flour
Pinch of salt
60ml butter, fridge temperature
1 egg yolk (reserve the white to brush over the cooked pastry)
30—40ml cold water

100g whole almonds or pecan nuts
125g butter
100g castor sugar
2 large eggs, separated
30ml flour
Pinch salt
15ml amaretto liqueur (optional)
2.5ml vanilla essence
3 ripe pears
40g seedless raisins, rinsed with boiling water and left to stand

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt twice and rub ri the butter to form coarse crumbs. Mix the egg yolk with cold water and add to the flour. Cut in the liquid with a small knife to form a lumpy mixture. Use your hand to gather and knead the mixture together until it forms a ball. Don’t add more water; simply keep working the dough lightly. Wrap the dough in plastic and leave it to rest (in cooler weather, it is best to leave it out ot the fridge, as it can become too hard and brittle).

Roll the dough out to 1 cm thickness. Fold into thirds and roll out again to 3 mm thickness on a well-floured surface, using a floured rolling pin. (the preliminary rolling makes the dough much easier to handle.) Use the pastry to line a 20—22 cm loose- bottomed flan tin. Rest the unbaked pastry open in the fridge, for at least 30 minutes, to firm and dry out slightly.

Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and weigh down with rice or beans. Bake blind (without filling) for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and the weight. Brush the hot pastry with the lightly beaten egg white to form a ‘waterproof’ layer between the pastry and the tilling. Allow the pastry to cool.

Turn the oven down to 160 °C. Place the nuts in a processor and chop them up until they resemble breadcrumbs.

Cream the butter, add the sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Add the eggs slowly, first the white and then the yolk of each egg, beating vigorously between additions. Mix the flour and salt with the ground nuts and fold into the creamed mixture. Fold in the liqueur or vanilla. Peel the pears, slice into halves and remove the pips. Slice each half into slices. Fan the sliced pear halves in the baked pastry case. Sprinkle over the raisins. Spoon over the topping and smooth evenly. Bake at 160 °C for about 45 minutes, until it is a rich golden brown colour. Serve warm or at room temperature with creamed cottage cheese, or with slices of blue cheese.

125ml fresh cream
125g smooth cottage cheese

Whip the cream until it holds its shape, then fold it info the cottage cheese.