Saturday, 19 October 2013
Pear, Almond and Amaretto Tart
As I mentioned on Twitter the other day, starting cookery school has had an effect on my weekend baking. I often have the kitchen to myself during the weekend so I can potter around, Radio 1 blaring, baking, humming and making a bit of a mess. Last weekend was the first time I had properly cooked at home since starting Leiths and it was strange (in a good way) to be in the kitchen on my own without being assessed, in a dress and jewellery not chefs whites, with a dishwasher not a sink and scourer, and just my hunger levels instead of a service time and waiting teacher dictating my speed. It was definitely enjoyable being relaxed again whilst baking but at the same time I’ll admit I missed some of the camaraderie of my group all cooking and chatting together. Cookery school has, of course, had positive impacts on my baking – I’m more organised (‘mise en place’ is our mantra), probably faster and more efficient in my timing. Those daily time plans are not going to waste! My weekend baking also gave me the chance to practice some of my skills I’ve been learning: starting with pastry.My Mum sent me this Lorraine Pascale recipe a while ago and it sounded right up my street – you know how much I love almond flavoured anything. It also gave me the chance to use my rectangular tart tin which I have had for an embarrassingly long time without using and now that I’ve used it once I know it will become much more of a baking regular for me – the shape, particularly with this tart, make serving really easy and you don’t have to worry about slightly wonky or uneven slices like with a normal circular tart.But more important than shape is taste! Happily, this tart did not disappoint there either. It’s been ages since I’ve used amaretto and I loved the way its warmth enhanced this dish and emphasised the almond flavour. The frangipane stayed really soft with just a slight chew and crackle on the surface. My only slight issue was the pears – the recipe said to use either tinned or fresh and I chose fresh. However, mine were pretty unripe and didn’t really soften during baking so I think I would recommend tinned ones in future, for a reliably softer and slightly sweeter final result. Overall though this tart was still a winner – the only real problem being that the obvious serving option of a pear per slice makes it difficult to sneak a little bit more each time you walk past! You can find the recipe here – enjoy!