Bridging the gap between summer and fall, Pie's recipe for pear croustade takes a Pithivier-style filling that's gooey and nutty, adding piles of pear slices and wrapping it all in layers of flaky pastry.
Tips: The best way to fit all the pear pieces onto the bottom round of pastry is to lay them in concentric circles, starting from the center and working your way outwards. Don't slice them too thinly, or you'll have far too many extra slices to eat while you work.
Food Fact: Caster sugar, also labeled "superfine", is a grade of sugar finer than granulated but coarser than powdered. It melts easily, resulting in smoother fillings and sauces. You can make your own caster sugar by sending some table sugar through the food processor for a few seconds. Be warned, however, that sugar will cut into plastic processor bowls, rendering them scratched or opaque.
Reprinted with permission by Angela Boggiano. Copyright © 2013. Published by Octopus Publishing. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:serves 8
- 1lb/500g ready-made puff pastry
- beaten egg, to glaze
- icing sugar, for dusting
- 8 small ripe pears
- grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 4oz/125g butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1fl oz/30ml dark rum or Cointreau
- 3oz/75g caster (superfine) sugar
- 7oz/200g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
Peel and core the pears and slice each one into 8 lengthways. Place the slices in a bowl and toss with the lemon zest and half the lemon juice. Beat the butter in a bowl until softened and then beat in the egg, rum or Cointreau, caster sugar, ground almonds and remaining lemon juice.
Cover a large baking tray with parchment paper. Roll out half of the pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 3mm/1/8in thick and cut out a 27cm/10 1/2in circle using a plate as a guide. Lay the pastry on the baking tray. Spread the almond mixture on the pastry circle up to 2.5cm/1in from the edge. Top with the sliced pears.
Roll out the remaining pastry to a 28cm/11in round. Brush the edge of the pastry base with beaten egg, then carefully lay the pastry lid over the filling. Press the edges firmly to seal and scallop the edge of the pie decoratively, using a knife to make the indentations.
Brush the top with beaten egg to glaze and use a sharp knife to make faint lines radiating out from the centre to the edge in semi-circle patterns. Bake for about 30 minutes until well risen and golden. Dust the top generously with icing sugar and serve warm with cream or ice cream.