- Store-bought shortcrust pastry
- baking parchment
- dried beans, any kind
Roll out the pastry and line a 25cm deep fluted, loose-bottomed flan tin. Prick the base and chill for 30 minutes. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with the dry beans. This is called baking blind, and all the beans are doing is weighing down the pastry so it doesn’t warp or lift. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to chill.
- 3 firm pears, or if out of season, 1 small tin of pears
- 2tsp lemon juice
- 175g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 175g caster sugar
- 150g ground almonds
- 75g cake flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 200g dark chocolate
- handful of flaked almonds
- 2tsp smooth apricot jam, for glazing.
Preheat your oven to 160ºC. Peel, quarter and core the pears and pour over a little lemon juice to prevent discoloration. In a food processor, blend the butter and sugar until creamy and light, add the ground almonds, flour, salt, baking powder, eggs and vanilla essence. Blend well.
Break the chocolate into chunky blocks. Stir in the chocolate chunks with a spatula. Spread the almond mixture evenly over the cooled pastry case. Lightly cut lines into the pears, almost as though you are slicing them, but do not allow your knife to go all the way through, so the pears still remain whole, but appear fanned on the top. Arrange the pears so that the narrow ends face the centre, and press gently into the almond mixture.
Bake on an oven tray for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake for a further 35–45 minutes or until the frangipane is well risen and golden. Warm the apricot jam in a microwave and glaze the pears by brushing the liquid jam over them. Leave for 15minutes to cool before lifting from the tin.
Enjoy this recipe with one of South Africa’s best wines, go to wineofthemonth.co.za
Recipes by Diane Heierli • Photography & Styling C&D Heierli