I made this last night for to follow a Sunday dinner of Shepherds Pie and Savoy cabbage. It began life as a bag of four rather attractive but hard pears. They were the sort that go from 'hard and inedible' to 'rot' without passing 'yummy and ripe'.
So, something cooked with pears it must be. I'd seen Rachel Allen's BBC2 programme earlier in the day and she had done a very yummy thing which began with peeled chunks of eating apples happily sizzling in a pan of butter, involved a panful of toffee sauce and ended with a heap of crumble topping. Not really what I was after, but I began with the pears in chunks in butter in a lidded frying pan, thinking, possibly, tarte tatin, but veered off into the realms of frangipane.
This is the recipe:
Start with four hard and hopeless pears. Peel, core and cut into chunks. Add to a small frying pan with a heaped teaspoonful of butter. Toss about a bit and then slap on a lid. Leave on a low heat while you make the frangipane.
Weigh two eggs. Remember how much they weigh and put to one side. You then use that weight for the butter, sugar and ground almonds/flour mix. I used two bantam eggs. If you've got monster eggs, use one or be prepared for slightly more frangipane than you bargained for! (Any extra could always be baked separately as a cook's perk.)
Put the eggs to one side while you weigh out the butter and sugar. (I used Clover buttery spread as I had run out of butter.) Beat together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one by one and a good teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Then fold in the ground almonds and self raising flour (in the ratio of about four parts almonds to one part flour, more or less) and a teaspoonful of baking powder.
The pears should now be softened and sitting in a pool of peary buttery juices. Tip them into a shallow oven proof dish, top with the frangipane and cook at Gas Mark 3 for about 45 minutes. It's done when it's golden brown and springs back when pressed.
Serve with lashings of lovely custard.