Have you ever seen Eddie Izzard talking about pears?
He's so right - you do the test squeezy squeezy thing, and they sit there in the bowl hard as rocks, waiting conspiratorially for you to go out of the room for five minutes, and when you come back in they're black mush.

Pears are the last fruit to ripen in our garden, and I've just picked a large basket full.  This year's crop is good but not overwhelming, but as they simply don't keep in the way that apples do, the pear recipes will have to be rehearsed pretty quick.  They are the one fruit you must pick slightly underripe. If you leave them to ripen on the tree they will go "sleepy"  and before you can say Jack Robinson you will be sitting in a pool of pear puree.

 My tree is a Conference, which in my opinion is much better than its reputation, and is always delicious when home grown and ripened. Pick them all when the tree begins to drop a few windfalls, usually at the end of September or beginning of October depending on the weather. Keep the majority in a cool garage, and bring a supply into the kitchen in dribs and drabs, and they will ripen beautifully. But they won't last indefinately, and you may well need to give some away, or use them us in other ways.  You can make jam with them but I don't care for it much - it can take on a grainy texture if you're not careful. They do bottle very well in a light syrup though if you have some Kilner jars. If you're really snowed under you could incorporate them into a chutney, but I'd have to be very inundated, pear-wise to consider wasting their charms on chutney.

There really is little to beat the joy of eating a ripe pear, with the juice running down your chin.

Pear and Almond Flan

My daughter and I have been making this nice almondy flan topped with plums all through August and September but now we're out of plums I thought  I would see how it does with pears and it's pretty good. You can serve it cold as cake with coffee, but it's much nicer just warm, with thick cream as pudding. Sarah uses ready made shortcrust which is excellent, especially if you're a VBP (Very Busy Person, which she is), but I have time to make my own and this is my usual recipe for sweet shortcrust.

1 pack of butter (8ounces) cold from the fridge
1 pound plain flour
4 oz caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 eggs

10" metal flan tin
Whizz the butter, flour and sugar in a processor to breadcrumb stage. Add egg and whizz briefly, just enough to combine. You may find it best to tip it into a large bowl to press together with your hands. Don't handle it more than you have to though. Roll it out on a very floury surface, and use to line a metal flan tin. I never rest it or bake it blind, and I don't suffer from either shrinkage or  flabby bottoms. It will only shrink if you over handle and stretch it, and I don't find I  need to bake blind if I use a  loose based metal flan tin, which will conduct the heat evenly and ensure a firm, crispy bottom, which is what we all want. This pastry is good for all sweet flans, custards, lemon tarts and mince pies (there I go again, talking about Christmas in October)..You will only need about half of this amount for the flan but it's a good idea to make extra and freeze it in a slab ready for the the next tart or mince pie session. I always make a good quantity so that I have some in, should an unexpected pastry emergency arise.

1 pack butter (8 oz) at room temperature
6 ounces caster sugar
8oz ground almonds
few drops of almond essence
2 oz plain flour
2 eggs
2 large conference pears reasonably ripe

Peel and scoop out the core from the pears, and slice.
Whisk together the butter and sugar until pale and light, ( I use a Kitchenaid table mixer), beat in the eggs, add the ground almonds, essence, and flour and briefly combine. Pour into your prepared flan case. Top the flan with the fruit slices, and press gently  in. Bake in a medium  Gas 3 150C oven for about 40-50 minutes. Serve warm with clotted cream.

Do try this with plums or apricots when in season as well.


  1. I watched the YouTube video and LOL! I had never seen Eddie before. Wish I had a pear tree. I love flan and I saved the recipe.

  2. Thanks Callie, Eddie is hilarious insn't he!!

  3. Pear and almond flan? That sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Hope you enjoy trying the recipe Karine, thanks for stopping by. Kathy


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