As the heading says, jealousy is a curse. And also a great motivator!!! I have just found a fabulous foodblog at Cook (almost) anything at least once and am so inspired I am posting again after a hiatus of some months.
I've been happily snapping away with my Sony DSC-W30, lots of pictures of food I've cooked as well as restaurants I've visited, and they're taking up space on my hard disk.
So the time has come to post!
My - at present, and for some years past - signature dish is my Pear Tart Tatine. I remember the story of the Tart Tatine - named after the Tatine sisters who invented it - and had longed to try the 'real' one, made with apples. I'm still waiting!
But I love pears, so pears it is! This is adapted from Patricia Wells Bistro Cooking, a wonderful book on authentic bistro cooking to be found in the countryside. It may be a tad dated now, but the recipes are good - flavoursome and not too tricky.
I use Patricia Wells' Pate Brisee for the pastry 'topping', as its absolutely foolproof and crisp and light as well.
Pear Tart Tatine - Patricia Wells
1 cup plain flour
105g butter, chilled and cut up
3 Tb iced water
Place flour, butter and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the iced water and pulse just until the mixture comes together. Turn out of the processor. If it feels sticky, sprinkle some flour on the bench and knead it in a little until the pastry feels smooth. Do not overwork, just work enough until it feels dry.
Form into a disk, flatten slightly, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate 30 minutes.
90g unsalted butter
7 - 8 firm pears eg Beurre Bosc, peeled, cored and cut into 8ths
100g castor sugar
1 qauntity Pate Brisee
Preheat oven to 220oC
Melt butter in a wok or large frying pan. Add sugar and pears.
Cook, stirring often, so that the pears do not burn but rather turn a deep golden caramel. If the pears are really ripe, say in Autumn, then you may need to cook faster to avoid them breaking up and turning into mush before they have reached this deep colour.
Pile the pears into a 27cm glass baking dish, or if you are lucky enough to have one, a tatine pan, and level off.
Roll out the pastry to cover - there will be enough in the recipe above that you don't need to roll it too thin and you will still have enough to cover the pears. Push it down around the pears, like tucking in a blanket, and there will be a small ridge sticking up against the sides of your glass dish. Trim these to about the same height as the middle of your tart.
Place in the center of your oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes until the pastry is deep golden brown.
Remove from the oven and turn upside down onto your serving plate. If pears stick to the dish, spoon them back into the gaps they have left in your tart.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla icecream or pouring cream.