Tag Archives: pear

Pear, apple and caramel jam-boree in memory of a girly week-end

As good as gold...

Some smells, some tastes, have the power to anchor you in a past mood more forcefully than a thousand words or even a picture can do…

Last summer, I brought back in my luggage a small jar of gold: a precious jam bought before an evening picnic on the Plage de L’Espiguette… As my childhood friends will know, and as I keep repeating to my children every time I take them there, l’Espiguette is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. That evening, the evening of the picnic with my friend Caro, you could see the purple shadows of the Cevennes to your right, the golden reeds of the Camargue to your left and the vastness of the Mediterrannean in front of you, jutting into the horizon until the African coast! And before you, you had the luxury of hundreds of meters of soft, sandy emptiness… We threw a blanket on the dune and opened a cool rosé. Caro went straight into the water (as she always does) and I read a bit in my jumper before thinking ” What the HEll!” and plunging into the waves where the sun was setting. But what about the jam…

This pear, apple and salted caramel jam, in that gifted pot, was a wonder and a challenge to me. I was determined to achieve the same luxurious,indulgent and silky taste… And here it is! With Sticky toffee sauce instead of salted caramel, because I needed to make it mine with a little anglophile twist…

Sometimes living in two languages is a mixed blessing. At worst it can feel a bit schizophrenic ; at best you create a great mix!

Ingredients list:

You will need a jam pan and 6 clean jars. A jam thermometer is also a great help!

  • Lemon 1
  • Pears 3 (best seasonal ones like Williams)
  • Apples 4 (again, fresh and seasonal is best: Cox here)
  • Brown caster sugar, 2/3 of the total fruit weight (so about 660g for 1kg of fruit)
  • Vanilla pod 1
  • Two spoonful of Sticky Toffee sauce (Thermomix recipe) or bought caramel sauce or 4/5 caramels

The day before (that’s best but not an absolute): Peel and chop the fruit, squeeze the lemon juice over and cover with the sugar. Leave overnight covered in the fridge.

On the day: Clean in the dishwasher 6 to 8 Pots for 1 kg of fruit.

Put the macerating fruit into your jam pan and get to a rolling boil. Leave boiling at jam point (just over 100°) for 10 minutes.

Turn down. Add your caramels or 2 spoonfuls of the toffee sauce . Slit the pod and scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan.

Boil to jam point again for 5 minutes.

Put straight away into clean jars: I use a long ladle and a jam funnel to get the boiling jam into each pot quickly. This way the jam is sterilising its own pot! All you have to do is screw the top over the pot and turn it upside down on a kitchen towel. Write some nice labels and marvel at the sight of your pots- That’s what I do! I put them in a special basket at the bottom of my baker’s shelf so I can reach for one easily when I want to please a special guest…

As for a treat to my reader, I give you the best Christmas windows in London: Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly have wonderfully girly  scenes and here are some photos just for you.

Wish you were... on the merry-go-round!

Cute boudoir scene at F&M

Pear Tatin with toffee sauce


First sign of spring on a nearby tree!

Ingredients list:
One roll of all-butter puff pastry
Butter 50g
Brown soft demerara sugar 150g
Vanilla extract 1Tbsp
Fully matured pears 5 to 6
Cinnamon 1 Tbsp
Star anis 2 stars finely grounded

Pre-heat the oven to 180°.
Melt the sugar with a little water into a round le Creuset type pan – it must go into the oven AND over the stove. Add half the butter and let it bubble over low heat until it turns a nice deep amber. Turn all along.
Remove from the heat and add the sliced pears – they should fit snugly and fill all the space because they will reduce quite a lot!
Sprinkle with the spices and the vanilla extract. These bring a lovely spiciness to this dish so be generous. Dot with the remaining butter and arrange the round of pastry over them. Tucking the sides in so there is no empty space. Then bake for 45 min.

When ready, pour out carefully the excess juice – there will be a lot!- and catch it into a pan so it can then be returned to the flame to reduce a little bit. Reserve until ready to serve.

Place a plate on top of the tart and flip the dish over so the pears are now facing up!
Serve warm with the reduced toffee sauce and a dollop of yogurt or cream…

This is a really delicious take on the classic tarte Tatin and very suited to the wonderful varieties of pears we are starting to get at this time of year. Enjoy while it lasts!

This was inspired by a recipe card picked up in a supermarket lately. Never let a good idea pass by!
Messily delicious

Dandelion and pear country salad


Ingredients list:
A few young and tender leaves of dandelion
A few leaves of rocket
One sliced pear
Handful of walnuts
Dress with lemon juice and olive oil

Best to pick this in a field but we found our leaves by the edge of strawberry plants. It is a lovely feeling to think that we are competing with rabbits for that salad! The bitter edge of the dandelion is nicely rounded by the pear and nuts.

I love the fact that the most delicious things in life are free: dandelion salad, sunshine on a beach or a run in the woods when the heat has just gone down and the cicadas start again…