Our generous garden has provided gifts again. The small pair has been enjoying the small pears! I’ve used it as an excuse to learn some French.
I picked most of our pears a week or two ago because they ripen best off the tree (apparently the grainy texture increases the longer they are left hanging). And inspired by the current Cannes Film Festival, I decided to bake some of them into a clafoutis, which is a French pancakey tart.However, it turns out that the word clafoutis refers only to this style of sweet when it’s baked with cherries. (I love how the French are so specific about these things!) When made with any other fruit, the dessert is known as a flaugnard. I extended the theme by first poaching the pairs in some French Earl Grey tea from Cottle on Coventry that features hibiscus, sunflower and rose petals. I used local honey in the batter for some warm sweetness and I added almond for texture.
Tea Poached Pear Flaugnard with Almonds
4 or 5 pears, halved and cored
3 teaspoons French Earl Grey tea, brewed for 5 minutes in two cups water
2 Tbsp caster sugar
5g butter, melted
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup natural, sliced almonds
Icing sugar for dusting
Place the pear halves in a small saucepan with brewed tea and sugar (add water to ensure that the pears are fully immersed). Simmer for 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees, brush melted butter onto baking pan or tart tray (note that batter is very runny, so if you use a pan with a removable base you should line it first).
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, add honey and milk, then flour and almond meal. Place pear halves into buttered pan. Pour batter over pears and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake on a low shelf in the oven for 20 minutes or so, or until puffy and brown. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.
It’s an unusual texture and not too sweet (the pears do most of the work in that department).