Too early to be feeling Christmasy??
Naaaah, it’s never too early!
So if you too want to see the bright side of the current dreary English weather, whip up this pie, get in your cosy PJs and extra fluffy woolly socks and curl up with a book, a cup of tea and a slice of this:
For the poached pears:
250ml red wine
50g caster sugar
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
3 allspice berries, crushed
For the tart base:
100g Dove’s farm gluten-free flour
30g icing sugar
65g egg yolk
35g egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the almond cream:
1 lemon, zest
115g ground almonds
30g Dove’s farm gluten-free flour
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Start by poaching the pears: to make the poaching syrup, simply put all the ingredients together and bring to the boil while you peel the pears. Plop them in and leave them to simmer until just soft and cooked through.
Then, start making the dough for the tart base. Mix all the dry ingredients through, cut up the butter in cubes and whisk together the yolks, whites and vanilla extract. Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and rub together until you get a sandy texture. Add the egg mix and work together until everything is well and evenly incorporated. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for a few minutes to set the butter so it’s easier to roll.
For the almond cream, start by creaming the soft butter until pale in colour. To do this, simply beat the butter with a wooden stick or, if you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen aid, just pop it in there with the paddle attachment on. Once the butter is pale, add the sugar and beat through well until fully incorporated. Then, add the zest and gradually add the eggs, followed by the dry ingredients. Mix through until just combined and leave aside.
Now, us coeliacs / gluten-intolerant bakers all know that gluten-free dough is an absolute nightmare to roll, because since it has no gluten-structure, it tears at the slightest touch. Well, have you ever dreamed of lining a tart case just like regular people do, without having to patch it up everywhere? Just like this?:
Easy peasy, just roll the dough in between layers of cling film and the trick is done! Quickly plonk it over the tart case and lift the edges slightly to tuck the dough in the corners. Roll a rolling pin over the top to cut off the excess dough and rest in the fridge 10-15 minutes to set the butter again.
Once the tart base is set, spread the almond cream inside (or pipe it in if you have a piping bag), and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the edges of the tart base start to colour. Reduce the heat to 160°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or so to cook the almond cream through. Check if it’s done by inserting the tip of a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, you’re all good. If it’s wet, put it in a little while longer.
Once your pears are ready, cut them up however you want for a nice little design over your cake and reduce the remaining poaching liquor to a syrup to brush over them later.
Once your tart is ready, dispose the pears on the top and brush with the red wine syrup.