Serves 8
A marvellous combination of nature’s winter bounty. It is important to blind-bake the pastry at a high temperature before adding the filling. Reduce the oven temperature after baking the pastry so as not to over-brown the filling. Delicious served with blue cheese or crème fraiche.
Recipe Category

You will need

1 cup (120 g) cake flour
pinch of salt
4 T (60 ml) butter, fridge temperature
1 egg yolk (reserve the white to brush over the cooked pastry)
2 – 2 ½ T (30 – 37.5 ml) cold water

1 cup (100 g) whole almonds
½ cup (125 g) butter
½ cup (100 g) castor sugar
2 large eggs, separated
2 T (30 ml) flour
pinch salt
1 T (15 ml) Amaretto liqueur (optional) or 1 t (5 ml) vanilla essence
3 ripe pears

50 g creamy blue cheese or 100 g crème fraiche

Method

To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt twice and rub in 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, flatten ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and leave it to rest for 20 min (in cooler weather, it is best to leave it out of the fridge, as it can become too hard and brittle).

Roll the dough out to 1 cm thickness. Fold into thirds. (The preliminary rolling makes the dough much easier to handle).  Roll out again to 3 mm thickness on a well-floured surface, using a floured rolling pin. Use the pastry to line a 20 – 22 cm loose bottomed tin.

Rest the unbaked pastry open in the fridge, for at least 30 minutes, to firm and dry it slightly. Prick the bottom.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 200°C. Line the pastry case with baking paper and weigh it down with beans. Bake blind (without filling) for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans. Brush the hot pastry with the lightly beaten reserved egg white to form a ‘waterproof’ layer between the pastry and the filling. Allow the pastry to cool.

Turn the oven down to 160°C. Place the almonds 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 the 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. Place each half on its flat side and slice each half into slim slices. Fan the sliced pear halves in the baked pastry case.

Spoon over the filling 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 crème fraiche or creamy blue cheese.