Monday, February 13, 2017

Penne Alla Vodka


It's anybody's guess whether this dish is really Italian or not. Some claim the dish was invented at Dante's, a restaurant in Bologna, Italy. Luigi Franzese, a chef at New York's Orsini restaurant in the 1970s is also sometimes credited. But other sources relate that a certain James Doty, a graduate of Colombia University, was the originator.
While its origins are murky, the flavor is not.
I've never seen it on a menu in Italy, but it's certainly ubiquitous here in the states and for good reason -- it tastes delicious.
It's also perfect for the home cook owing to its ease of preparation. The whole dish comes together in less than 30 minutes.
It's also perfect for those of you thinking of meatless dishes to prepare for Lent.
So what are you waiting for?
Pour yourself a Bloody Mary, but set aside a little of that vodka for Penne Alla Vodka.



Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

Penne Alla Vodka
printable recipe here

1 lb. penne pasta

2 T. olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
3 cloves garlic
4 cups tomato sauce (1 lb. 13 oz. can)
1/2 cup vodka
salt, pepper
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup cream
fresh basil, minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for the table.

Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until wilted. Add the tomato sauce, vodka, salt, pepper and a little of the basil, saving some whole leaves to decorate with at the end.
Cook the sauce over high heat until it starts to "sputter," then lower immediately to a simmer for about 15 minutes to a half hour, stirring occasionally.

Bring the water for the pasta to a boil, adding salt. Dump the pasta into the boiling water and cook according to package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, stir the cream into the sauce at low heat. When the pasta is al dente, drain it from the water and add it to the pot with the sauce. (I like to take out a little sauce from the pot in case it is too much sauce for the pasta. I don't like my pasta to be "swimming" in sauce - just dressed lightly. You can always add it back in if it's not enough).
Stir the pasta into the sauce while you have it over a simmer, until the sauce is permeated through the pasta. Turn off the heat and add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
Serve with more grated cheese at the table.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Writing Retreat On Lake Como


 

     Join me for a week on Lake Como, to write about that childhood memory, travel experience, or any other event you've been wanting to capture in print.  Spend the mornings in writing instruction, and afternoons in leisure touring the area, eating exquisite foods and pinching yourself that it's real.
Kathryn Abajian and I hold the writing retreat at Villa Monastero (pictured above) in Varenna, on the banks of Lake Como, Italy. We're scheduled to repeat it September 24-30., 2017.
     Come along with me for an armchair visit to learn about the villa and its origins. Maybe you'll decide you'd like to spend a week here with us too, improving your writing skills, and partaking of the region's foods, wines and nearby sights.
                       
     The villa was founded as a Cistercian monastery in 1208, but its mission foundered in 1667, when the nuns left for Lecco, a city to the south. After three years, the villa was sold to the Mornico family, whose weath came from the iron mining industry in the area. The family converted the monastery to a noble residence, renaming it Villa Leliana. It was held by the Mornico family for nearly three centuries, when it was sold at the end of the 1800s to the German sheep owner Walter Kaas. 
       

     But in the lead up to World War II, Kaas was declared an enemy of the state and was sent back to Germany, while Italy took over the villa. The villa was then used by the elite mountaineering unit of the Italy military called the Alpini, until it was sold in 1955 to biologist Marco de Marchi, who converted the villa into a scientific conference center.
         
     Marchi had no heirs however, and left the villa to the Italian government with the proviso that it be used for conferences of a scientific or artistic nature.        

     We hold daily sessions in a sun-filled conference room overlooking the lake, surrounded by beautiful artwork created by local artists. 
      The villa also has a larger conference room that served as a chapel when the nuns occupied the villa, and is the place where Nobel prize winner Enrico Fermi taught his last lesson.
                                     
     You can see evidence of a religious fresco is a small niche there, dating to the 13th century.

                                 
        Other rooms in the villa highlight both the Germanic artistic taste of Walter Kaas, as well as highly decorative furnishings bought by de Marchi.
                                   
      The villa's extensive gardens, containing thousands of species of plants, are open to the public, but at night, we writers have the beauty of the grounds and the silence of the lake to ourselves.
        Most bedrooms have modern furnishings, some with views of the lake, and a few have balconies facing the lake. Sign up early to get priority for one of these.
     Writing instruction is in the morning, and you can set up your laptop by the lake in the afternoons to soak in some inspiration from the peaceful and lush surroundings.
        
     If you need a break from writing, the town of Varenna has a lot to offer, with inviting shops and cafes.
Can you picture yourself seated along the lake sipping a cappuccino, or a glass of Prosecco?
            
     Come with us if you like, on an afternoon visit to Vezio, and step back to the 11th century and a castle that was once home to Teodolinda, queen of the Lombards.
                                      
       From the castle, you get a magnificent view of the lake and the rooftops of Varenna below.
                        
     We also eat well on our retreats, and taste local wines and cheeses, like this taleggio.
           
    Dinners are all special, and we try different restaurants each night.

                       
     If you'd like to go further afield one afternoon, we'll take you on the ferry to Bellagio, where the streets are as quaint as the shops are prolific.

                             
     You can even try your hand at watercolor, whether you've got experience or not. We can arrange a lesson for you.

     It's not to soon to start thinking about reserving a spot for next year's retreat at Villa Monastero - September 24-30, 2017. Check out our website at www.italyinotherwords.com for more details.
How many times have you heard the phrase "Life is short?" Well, it's not just a saying, it's true.
Live the dream. Now.
It's a week you'll never forget.
  

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Sacher Torte


One of Central Europe's iconic desserts, Sacher Torte was made famous after Austrian Franz Sacher made the dessert for Prince Wenzel von Metternich in 1832. 
Since then, Hotel Sacher has served it to countless visitors, and will even mail its cakes to devotees around the world who aren't able to enjoy it in person in Vienna.
Fortunately, I've had the pleasure of eating Sacher torte in Vienna a few times, including on my honeymoon several months ago when we stayed at the hotel. 
After arriving home, I had to try making it and it wasn't difficult - just a little time consuming.
 I used a recipe from Lidia Bastianich, who knows a thing or two about the dessert since she was born in what's now present day Croatia, once part of the Austria-Hungarian empire.
I baked it in a springform pan, and while the the top of the cake puffs up a bit while baking, it deflates when it cools.
Most recipes call for two layers, but Lidia's called for three, so I split this into three parts, then filled the interior with the traditional apricot jam.
Pour a thick ganache glaze over the top, but save some to decorate with the traditional "S" for Sacher.

It's a really rich cake, so you don't need a large slice to feel satisfied.

But you do need to serve it with a generous portion of whipped cream.
Anything less would be sacrilegious.


Speaking of religious, here are a few photos of the beautiful city of Vienna, including St. Stephen's cathedral, with its multi-colored tile roof.
This is one of the entrances to the vast Hofburg - now home to Austria's president, but once the imperial palace of the Habsburg empire. 
You can visit the palace rooms and even enjoy a performance of the famous Lipizzaner stallions here.
Of course, one palace is never enough, so in the summer the Habsburgs retreated a short distance away to the Schonbrunn palace, with its cozy 1,441 rooms, 
If you're in Vienna during opera season, try to get tickets to a performance. Even if there's no opera or symphony scheduled while you're there, take a "behind the scenes" tour of one the world's most elegant opera houses, or just step inside to gaze at the beautiful architecture.
Lovers of Gustav Klimt's art have myriad venues to view the Austrian artist's work, including the famous Beethoven frieze at the Secession building, and his painting of Judith with the head of Holofernes, in the Belvedere museum.
But don't forget to end the day at the Sacher Hotel, with a slice of their incomparably delicious, eponymous cake.


Even if you can't get to Vienna, you can make the cake at home with the recipe below.

Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

Sacher Torte
recipe from Lidia Bastianich

For The Torte:
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) butter, plus 1 T. for the cake pan
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs, separated
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and lukewarm
1/4 t. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 c. almond flour

For filling and glazing the torte:
1 3/4 c. apricot preserves

2/3 c. light corn syrup
6 T. water
2 T. dark rum
pinch of salt
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped in small chunks

whipped cream for serving

Butter the bottom of a 9" springform pan, lined with a parchment circle. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. 
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer, using the whisk attachment, until light and smooth. Incorporate the egg yolks, one at a time, and then pour in the chocolate gradually, mixing it in thoroughly and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. On low speed, incorporate the flour. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, and spread in an even layer.
Bake until a cake tester come out clean -- or until the top springs back when lightly pressed -- 35 minutes or longer. Put the pan on a wire rack,  cool briefly, then remove the side ring of the springform pan and let the cake cool completely.
Lift the cake off the metal pan bottom, and peel off the parchment. Slice the cake horizontally into thirds, making three thin layers. Take the top layer and place it upside down on your cake plate, so the crusty baked top becomes the base of the torte.  Place narrow sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper, all around the bottom of the cake, to catch drips when you pour the chocolate glaze.
Whisk 1/2 cup apricot preserves with the water and heat, stirring, until the preserves dissolve into a loose syrup.  (I used a stick blender to break down the large chunks of apricot.)Brush 1/3 of the syrup on the bottom layer and let it soak in. Then take half of the remaining apricot preserves and spread it over the apricot syrup. Repeat with the remaining layers, ending with the top layer and the thin apricot syrup.
For the chocolate glaze: Heat the corn syrup, rum, salt and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring. Turn off the heat and put the chopped chocolate into the pan, stirring, until the chunks have melted and the glaze is smooth and shiny. Let is cool slightly until it just starts to thicken, then pour the glaze over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing the sides so there are no bare spots. Save a little of the chocolate glaze to make an "S" shape, or to write "Sacher" on top of the cakeif desired. If so, let the glaze solidify at room temperature and for the glaze to become a little thicker. Then use a piping bag to pipe an "S" on the top of the cake. 

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Polenta with Spuntature e Salsicce (ribs & sausages)



Years ago, when I lived in Rome, I'd order polenta with spuntature at a restaurant in my neighborhood of Trastevere. But only in winter. It's a rare restaurant that features it at other times of year, and if it does, it's likely to be a place devoid of Romans.
Even though you can certainly make polenta in spring, summer or fall, to me, it's strictly winter food. And now that winter is in full swing, polenta is on my mind.
I've made it a few times this season already, but not with spuntature.
Since I was going to be making a ragù, I thought I'd include some sausages too, and put together some meatballs to enrich the sauce even more.
As long as you're going to the trouble of cooking something for several hours, you might as well make enough to put in the freezer for a few meals later on, right?
So I pulled out my biggest stainless steel pot to get it going.
While the sauce was simmering away, I fried some meatballs. 
I know, frying foods isn't the best thing for you, and I do broil meatballs occasionally too. 
But there's nothing that brings back memories of my childhood like the scent of meatballs frying in hot oil. 
As children, we'd stand by the stove while my mother drained a few on paper towels, eagerly waiting to snare one and take that first bite into a crunchy, meaty ball, with steam still spewing out of it. 
After sampling one or two, the rest went into the pot with the sauce.
When the sauce had simmered for a couple of hours, I started on the polenta.
I've made polenta with a slow cooker, (using Michelle Scicolone's recipe below). I've made it in the oven in an "almost no-stir" method (America's Test Kitchen recipe below). I've made it with my nifty automatic polenta stirrer (the paiolo).
And I've made the instant type polenta too. They're all good, but to me the best tasting polenta is made the old fashioned way - with good coarse grain cornmeal and by constant stirring for 45 minutes while you stand over the pot.
The polenta transforms to a creaminess that's just begging for a good sauce to slather on top.
That's where the ribs and sausage come in.
And they could find no better place to rest - except in your stomach of course.


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You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 

Ragù with spuntature e salsicce
(Tomato sauce with ribs and sausage)

printable recipe here

2 1/2 - 3 pounds Italian sausage (hot or sweet)

2-3 lbs. pork spare ribs2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, minced
8 - 10 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, minced
2 stalks of celery, minced
6 - 23 oz. cans imported Italian tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 T. dried basil, plus fresh basil, if available
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper

about 3 dozen meatballs (recipe below)

Place the sausage in a pot and cook over medium flame until browned, and some of the fat has been rendered. Remove the sausages from the pot and set aside.

Place the ribs in the pot and brown them all around. Remove and set aside.If there's a lot of fat in the pot remaining from the sausages and ribs, drain most of it, but leave a little for flavor. Add the olive oil to the pot. Finely mince the onion and garlic in a food processor and saute in the olive oil. Do the same with the carrot and celery. Cook the vegetables in the olive oil until softened.
Add the remaining ingredients and put the sausage back into the pot with the sauce. Add the spare ribs.

Add the fried meatballs to the sauce, if desired.
Cook everything together for at least two to three hours on a low flame, stirring periodically.

My mom's meatball recipe

I sometimes broil these, and they're good that way, but oh-so-much better when deep-fried. 

2 1-2 - 3 pounds of ground meat (I use a mixture of pork, veal and beef)
about 1/3 of a large loaf of sturdy white Italian bread, preferably a day old
about 1 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper


oil for frying 
Trim the crusts off the bread. Put the bread in a low temperature oven for a short while or leave it out for a few hours to dry out. Save the crusts to make bread crumbs for another recipe.
Tear the bread into chunks and place into a bowl with the milk. Let the bread soak for at least 15 minutes or until it has absorbed the milk and softened. Squeeze as much milk as possible from the bread and discard the milk (or give to the cat). Squish the bread pieces with your fingers into a bowl with the ground meats until there are no big lumps. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well with your hands. Shape into round balls. Fry in a heavy pan with ample oil, or if you want to be healthier, place on a baking sheet or broiling pan and broil or bake at high heat (450 - 500), watching carefully so they don't burn. When they have a nice brown crust, turn them over and brown on the other side. Drain off the grease and add the meatballs to the sauce.


Basic Polenta
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups milk
2 cups water (or use all water and eliminate the milk)
salt, to taste
a couple of pats of butter
grated parmesan cheese, as desired

Pour the cornmeal and the milk and water into a heavy-bottomed pan. Stir over a low to medium high heat for about 30-45 minutes or until the mixture looks creamy. Add salt and taste the polenta. It will taste "raw" if it needs more cooking and may still have some grittiness. In that case, cook longer. If it becomes too thick, add more liquid. When it's done to your liking, turn off the heat, add a couple of pats of butter and parmesan cheese, as desired.

Slow Cooker Polenta - Michele Scicolone, "The Italian Slow Cooker" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010)
Serves 6
1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1½ teaspoons salt
5 cups water (or half water and half broth)
Additional water, milk, broth or cream, optional
In a large slow cooker, stir together the cornmeal, salt and water. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir the polenta. If it seems too thick, add a little extra liquid. Cook for 30-60 minutes more, until thick and creamy. Serve hot.
Almost no-stir Polenta
From America's Test Kitchen

Why this recipe works:
If you don’t stir polenta almost constantly, it forms intractable lumps. We wanted creamy, smooth polenta with rich corn flavor, but we wanted to find a way around the fussy process.
The prospect of stirring continuously for an hour made our arms ache, so we set out to find a way to give the water a head start on penetrating the cornmeal (we prefer the soft texture and nutty flavor of degerminated cornmeal in polenta). Our research led us to consider the similarities between cooking dried beans and dried corn. With beans, water has to penetrate the hard outer skin to gelatinize the starch within. In a corn kernel, the water has to penetrate the endosperm. To soften bean skins and speed up cooking, baking soda is sometimes added to the cooking liquid. Sure enough, a pinch was all it took to cut the cooking time in half without affecting the texture or flavor. Baking soda also helped the granules break down and release their starch in a uniform way, so we could virtually eliminate the stirring if we covered the pot and adjusted the heat to low. Parmesan cheese and butter stirred in at the last minute finishes our polenta, which is satisfying and rich.

Coarse-ground degerminated cornmeal such as yellow grits (with grains the size of couscous) works best in this recipe. Avoid instant and quick-cooking products, as well as whole-grain, stone-ground, and  regular cornmeal. Do not omit the baking soda—it reduces the cooking time and makes for a creamier polenta. The polenta should do little more than release wisps of steam. If it bubbles or sputters even slightly after the first 10 minutes, the heat is too high and you may need a flame tamer, available at most kitchen supply stores. Alternatively, fashion your own from a ring of foil. For a main course, serve the polenta with a topping or with a wedge of rich cheese or a meat sauce. Served plain, the polenta makes a great accompaniment to stews and braises.

7 1/2 cups water (I like to use a combination of milk and water - proportions are up to you.)
 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt 
pinch baking soda
1 1/2 cups coarse-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
4 ounces good-quality Parmesan cheese , grated (about 2 cups), plus extra for serving
ground black pepper 

1. Bring water to boil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda. Slowly pour cornmeal into water in steady stream, while stirring back and forth with wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cover.
2. After 5 minutes, whisk polenta to smooth out any lumps that may have formed, about 15 seconds. (Make sure to scrape down sides and bottom of pan.) Cover and continue to cook, without stirring, until grains of polenta are tender but slightly al dente, about 25 minutes longer. (Polenta should be loose and barely hold its shape but will continue to thicken as it cools.)
3. Remove from heat, stir in butter and Parmesan, and season to taste with black pepper. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Serve, passing Parmesan separately.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Farm Cooking School


My son Michael and daughter-in-law Beth gave us a gift certificate at Christmas to the Farm Cooking School, a wonderful enterprise run by two former editors from Gourmet Magazine, and located at Gravity Hill Farm in Titusville, N.J., about 1/2 hour from my home.
Shelley Wiseman and Ian Knauer run the school and offer classes in everything from Mexican cuisine to cheese making to venison butchery and lots more. 
Shelley was Gourmet's travel food editor and a recipe tester for 12 years. She's the author of two cookbooks, including her latest, Just Tacos.
Ian, who founded the school, worked in Gourmet's test kitchens for more than a decade, before returning to his family's farm in Pennsylvania where he wrote The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food. 

We were enrolled in an "experimental" class, intended for people already comfortable in the kitchen, since we were given basic recipes but had to come up with our own creations, ones that would be judged by each participant. 
Shelley gave everyone a basic recipe for pastry crust, for a quiche filling and for a sweet frangipane filling. We were then charged with making either a savory or sweet quiche or tart, choosing from the following ingredients: 
one tray of vegetables, an array of cheeses as well as bacon and raw salmon.
And a tray containing a variety of fruits, chocolate, and mascarpone cheese for use in a sweet tart.
 Each person was required to make one tart or quiche, and my husband Ron ( a neophyte in the kitchen, but a quick learner!) and I worked as a team on one savory quiche and one dessert tart.
The school had ample room for us all to roll out our crusts, mix ingredients and bake our quiches (there was another stove/oven not visible in the photos.) 
The school's batterie de cuisine was impressive, with all kinds of knives, bowls, pans and other kitchen equipment you could want.
(The guy at the stove's not too shabby either!)
 This is the savory quiche we made with mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon and gruyere cheese. as it came out of the oven.
Another person chose salmon, asparagus and dill for his quiche.
And someone else chose to use goat cheese and chives as main ingredients.
 I lost my notes, so I can't really recall what the dominant ingredients were in this one. 
I do know that they were all really delicious.
 Now it was time for dessert, and only two people chose to make a sweet tart, including us.
One participant made this lovely concoction with a delicate flaky crust, filled with pastry cream and topped with blueberries and caramelized pineapple.

For our tart, we started by making a chocolate crust, incorporating some cocoa into Shelley's basic crust recipe, while eliminating some of the flour. 
We followed Shelley's recipe to the letter for the almond frangipane filling, and nestled poached pears atop the filling, brushing them with some apricot preserves before popping the whole thing into the oven.
After eating all the quiches and tarts, and taking notes, we were asked to vote on our favorites. 
It wasn't easy to choose, because they were all so very good and it was hard to compare the four savory quiches to the two sweet dessert tarts.
But in the end, we were thrilled when the most votes went to our pear tart!!! 
The prize was a certificate for one of us to attend another class at The Farm Cooking School. 
I'm already thinking about that cheese making course... or maybe that wine class...or maybe we'll sign up for one of those farm to table dinners at the school. 
Or maybe we'll do all of the above.

One thing's for certain -- we'll be back again more than once.  I'm looking forward to driving there in the daylight next time, to soak in the beautiful view of the countryside along the route, and the farm property itself.
If you're in the Southeastern Pa/Central New Jersey/metropolitan New York area of the U.S., take at look at the school's website  and enroll in one of the classes offered. 
There are also culinary vacations offered at the Farm Cooking School in the beautiful Delaware River Valley, or even in sunny Provence, France. Click here for more information.

Meanwhile, here is the recipe for our winning tart, using our variation of Shelley's tart shell recipe and her sweet frangipane filling:

Want more Ciao Chow Linda? Check out my Instagram page here to see more of what I'm cooking up each day. 
You can also connect with Ciao Chow Linda here on Facebook, here for Pinterest or  here for Twitter. 


Pear Frangipane Tart with Chocolate Pastry Crust
adapted from a recipe of The Farm Cooking School

for the tart shell:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 stick (4 oz.) semi chilled butter
1 large egg yolk
ice water - 2 T. 

For the filling:
2 pears
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Frangipane Filling
1/2 cup almond flour or 1/2 cup whole or slivered blanched almonds, toasted and cooled completely
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 t. salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter and work in with fingers until mixture is like coarse crumbs with some pea size pieces. Add egg yolk and chilled water and toss with a fork to evenly distribute. Squeeze a handful to see if it holds together in a moist dough. If not, add another tablespoon liquid and try again. Squeeze dough together. Chill in a disk wrapped in plastic wrap 30 minutes to 1 hour to rest.

Roll out the dough and fit it into a tart pan. Prick the bottom all over with a fork. Line the pastry with foil or parchment paper and fill with dried raw beans or rice. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until the sides are firm and the edges are brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil or parchment and bake another 10 to 15 minutes more.

While the crust is baking, poach the pears. Peel the pears and cut in half, removing the core and trimming out the stem. Place 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar into a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Add the pears and simmer, covering the pan with a lid. Turn once and keep an eye on the liquid, adding more if necessary. Poach until a knife pierces easily into the pears.
Remove from the water and cool. Slice thinly along the short end of the pears. After you have made the frangipane filling and put it in the tart crust, fan the pears over the filling in a decorative fashion, using a long knife to transfer the pear slices so they stay intact, but splayed out.

Spread a little apricot jam over the pears and bake the tart until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. 

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