pears in almond sponge

Having had this as a great dessert the other night at the Charette Bleue, I thought I’d hunt down a recipe to use as a starting point.

I found this one on the BBC web site – by Rachel Allen

I’ll come back and give some news on how it works. This is for a large “tart”, whereas the one I ate was an individual sponge with a whole poached pear inside.

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Ingredients
175g/6oz icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
50g/2oz plain flour
100g/4oz ground almonds
1 lemon, zest only
5 free-range egg whites
175g/6oz butter, melted, plus extra butter for greasing
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered, then cut into long slices about 5mm/¼in thick
25g/1oz flaked almonds

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Lightly grease the sides of a 23cm/9in tart tin with a removable bottom and place a disc of greaseproof paper on the base. If you prefer, you can serve this tart on the tart tin base,
in which case do not use a disc of paper.
3. Sieve the icing sugar and flour into a clean bowl and stir in the ground almonds and
lemon zest.
4. Place the free-range egg whites into another clean bowl. Whisk the egg whites for 30 seconds, until just frothy.
5. Add the whisked egg whites and warm melted butter to the bowl containing the dry ingredients. Mix the ingredients until the Ingredients combine and become smooth. Then pour the mixture into the prepared tart tin.
6. Arrange the pieces of pear on the top of the mixture and sprinkle the flaked almonds onto the top of the pears.
7. Transfer the tin to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat of the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and cook for a further ten minutes or until the mixture has risen and has a pale golden colour. The filling should feel firm to the touch in the centre when cooked through. Remove the tin from the oven and allow it to sit in the tin for a few minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.
8. To serve, place the tart on a clean plate and dust with icing sugar.

VARIATIONS
Instead of pears I sometimes use 100g/4oz raspberries or blackberries (either fresh or frozen) for the topping. Alternatively, I use 50g/2oz pine nuts instead of fruit. You can also make this with 100g/4oz peach or nectarine slices, which is particularly nice in the summer!

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