If you have plenty of pears from this year's harvest, here's a wonderful recipe that's tasty, elegant, and offers a festive alternative to mince pies and Christmas pudding.
(And what's more, it's got a lovely glug of warming rum in there too!)
Ingredients (to serve 6)
- 20g (1oz) mixed peel
- 20g (1oz) sultanas
- 35g (1½ oz) blanched almonds (roughly chopped)
- 40ml (3 tbspn) rum
- 6 ripe comice pears, peeled and cut into quarters
- 800ml (3½ cups) water
- 80g (3 oz) ground almonds
- 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
- 40g (1½ oz) plain flour
- 2 tbsp apricot jam, strained
- 125g (4½ oz) unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- Place the mixed peel, sultanas and chopped almonds in a bowl with the rum. Cover and leave to soak for at least one hour. Drain the fruits and discard the rum.
- In a large saucepan place 900ml (1 quart) of water and 125g (4 oz) of caster sugar and bring to the boil, stirring until the mixture becomes syrupy.
- Add the pears to the syrup and poach on a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes or until the pears are tender but retain their shape. Drain the pears.
- In a bowl, mix together the flour and the ground almonds.
- Cream together the remaining sugar and butter until pale. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Next fold in the flour and the ground almonds.
- In a shallow, buttered ovenproof dish arrange the pears and spread over the creamed mixture with the drained fruit and nuts.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190 C/375F/gas mark 5 for 50 minutes or until frangipane is golden.
- In a small saucepan make a glaze by placing the apricot jam with 2 tsp of water. Heat through and stir.
- Remove and brush with apricot glaze. Serve with double cream or creme fraiche.
This pudding can be prepared ahead, ready to bake (just stop at the end of step 6). Simply cover and place in the fridge overnight.
As ever, if you give a recipe a go, please do write back and tell us all about it!