Have you ever seen Eddie Izzard talking about pears? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh5a0ucs8kQ
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.
1 pack of butter (8ounces) cold from the fridge
1 pound plain flour
10" metal flan tin
2 oz plain flour
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.