Peargazy patch­work pie

Olive - - COOK -

1 HOUR 20 MIN­UTES | SERVES 6 | EASY

It’s im­pos­si­ble to for­get a stargazy pie if you’ve ever seen one. Cor­nish in ori­gin, it’s a tra­di­tional savoury dish of baked sar­dines, eggs and po­ta­toes, com­plete with fish heads pok­ing through the pas­try to (sup­pos­edly) look up wist­fully at the stars. Oddly enough, it’s the in­spi­ra­tion for this dessert but with­out the sar­dines of course. In my sweet­ened ver­sion, pears have the astro­nom­i­cal in­cli­na­tion – I love the way that the rhubarb dyes the plump base of each pear with a blush of pink.

pears 6, peeled

caster sugar 200g

vanilla pod 1, cut in 1/2 length­ways

rhubarb 400g, cut into 4cm chunks

golden caster sugar 2 tbsp

ready-made short­crust pas­try 150g (see cook’s notes)

plain flour for dust­ing

egg 1, beaten de­mer­ara sugar 2 tbsp

• Put the pears in a pan and cover with wa­ter. Stir in the caster sugar and vanilla then bring to a sim­mer. Let the pears bub­ble away for 10-15 min­utes or un­til a knife just slips through the flesh. Re­move the pears from the liquor (keep this for driz­zling later) and put aside to cool.

• Once cooled, cut to level the base of each pear so that they stand up­right. Ar­range in the bot­tom of a deep 23cm-round pie dish, as equally spaced apart as pos­si­ble. Toss the rhubarb in the golden caster sugar and spoon around the pears. Driz­zle 1 tbsp of the pear-poach­ing liquor over the rhubarb.

• Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Roll the pas­try out on a flour-dusted work­sur­face and use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut ir­reg­u­lar shaped but sim­i­lar sized patches. Cover the rhubarb with the pas­try shapes, ar­rang­ing be­tween the up­right pears, and over­lap­ping to seal the crust and cre­ate a patch­work ef­fect.

• Brush the pas­try with beaten egg and sprin­kle over the de­mer­ara sugar. Bake for 30-35 min­utes or un­til the pas­try is golden – cover the pear stems with kitchen foil if you’re wor­ried they’ll burn too much.

PER SERV­ING 285 KCALS | FAT 7.8G SATURATES 3G | CARBS 47.2G | SUG­ARS 36.3G FI­BRE 5.9G | PROTEIN 3.6G | SALT 0.3G

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