The husband and i came across a beautiful pear tree a couple of weeks back. It was standing in the yard of an abandoned house, and was absolutely dripping with large golden pears. Our own pear tree bears much smaller fruit, of a much more prosaic brown. It also ripens much earlier, being ready to eat around late February. This pear tree was an eye-opener, as much for the beauty of the fruit as for the fact that it had ripe fruit at the end of April.
Anyway, as well as pears all over the tree, there were lots of pears on the ground all around, which suggested to me that the rightful owner was not going to make use of many of their pears. So when i had to return to the area a few days later with my car, i took along a bag, and picked up some windfalls from around the tree. They proved delicious for eating fresh, but part of my motivation for collecting them was that i'd come across a recipe i really wanted to try. I had been browsing a magazine at my favourite cafe - my most time-honored method of finding new and interesting recipes - and although there was no picture of the finished product i was taken by the title. I am naturally attracted to any recipe with walnuts, but was also aware that i had not yet posted any pear recipes on my blog, which meant i was super keen to try it out. I can't tell you the name of the magazine, but i did note down that the recipe was an extract from a book called "The Yoga Kitchen', by Emily Parsons. The recipe is gluten free, but you could easily substitute a combination of wholemeal and white flour for the brown rice and tapioca flours in the pastry if you preferred, and cornflour for the tapioca flour with the fruit. I used spelt flour with tapioca flour, as i thought it might be nice (it was), but next time i'll try it with brown rice flour as the recipe suggests. The husband and i both enjoyed it, and felt vaguely virtuous about eating a dessert that is a bit less sweet than is often the case, although i diluted the virtue factor by serving it with softly whipped cream - delicious!
RUSTIC PEAR GALETTE with WALNUT PASTRY
From 'The Yoga Kitchen' - recipes by Kimberly Parsons
For the pastry:
1 cup (100 g) roughly chopped walnuts
3/4 cup (105 g) brown rice flour
1/2 cup (60 g) tapioca flour
50 g cold butter cut into cubes
1/4 cup (50 g) coconut sugar
1 free-range egg
1-2 tablespoons cold water (if needed)
For the filling:
3 medium pears, peeled and cored
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 tablespoons maple syrup
4 teaspoons tapioca flour
To make the pastry, blitz the walnuts in a food processor until they are the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Add the flour, butter, sugar and egg, then process for a minute or two until the mixture starts to come together. If necessary, add the water, a tablespoon at a time, processing for 5 seconds between each addition, until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
To make the filling, slice the pears and put in a bowl with the lemon juice and maple syrup. Sprinkle with the tapioca flour, then use your hands to gently mix through so the fruit is evenly coated.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Take the dough from the fridge and place it on a large sheet of baking paper. Roll it out until roughly circular and approximately 40 cm in diameter. If it is sticky, roll it out between 2 sheets of baking paper.
Pile the pear slices on top of the pastry, leaving 5 cm around the edge. Place your hands under the baking paper and fold the excess pastry over the fruit. It doesn't need to be perfect, but tidy up any cracks in the pastry if necessary.
Bake for 40 minutes until the pear is tender and the pastry is golden. Let sit for 20 minutes before serving.