Saturday, 4 February 2012

Cinnamon Pear & Amaretti Pie for Valentine's Day

This double crust pie tastes and looks sublime. Spiced cinnamon pears in sugar and crushed amaretti are encased in shortcrust pastry, and topped with a decadent slathering of sweet rose buttercream icing. Delicious glamour for those planning a romantic Valentine's Day meal for an immensely greedy couple!

Barely adapted from the recipe by Tamasin Day Lewis's book Tarts with Their Tops On. Buy the book on Amazon here.
Serves 4-6

for the pastry:
340g flour
170g unsalted butter, cold and diced

for the filling:
8 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
light muscovado sugar
lemon juice
12 small amaretti
quarter teaspoon cinnamon

1. To make the pastry, sift the flour into a large bowl, adding the cold diced butter and work quickly to rub it into the flour using the tips of your fingers.

2. Add 4 or so tablespoons of cold water, stirring in just enough to bind the dough. Gather into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other, and wrap in clingfilm. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Meawhile turn the oven to 200C (180C fan ovens) and grease a deep 23cm pie tin.

4. When ready, scatter some flour on the work surface to prevent sticking, and roll out a little over half the pastry. With cold hands, start rolling the pastry with a rolling pin, rolling away from yourself and turning the pastry as you continue.

5. Line the greased pie dish with a little over half the pastry. Place in the fridge, along with the leftover pastry ball, until the filling is ready.

6. In a large bowl, toss the pear slices in lemon juice to stop them browning and lots of light muscovado sugar.

7. Next crush the amaretti by double bagging them in plastic bags and beating the bags with a rolling pin - most cathartic if you're having a stressful day! 

8. Add the crushed amaretti and cinnamon to the pears. Spoon the mixture into the lined pastry tin.

9. Roll out the rest of the pastry into a lid, and cover the pie. Using the leftover pastry pieces, cut out a large heart to decorate the top, making a small hole in the centre of the pie to let the steam out. Sprinkle with caster sugar the areas on the top that won't be covered with the buttercream.

10. Put in the oven for 15 mins, and next turn down the oven to 180C and bake for 30 minutes more until the pie and fruit are done.

for the icing:
2 tablespoons caster sugar
55g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons or 1 teaspoon rose flower water
110g icing sugar

11. To make the icing, throw all the ingredients except the icing sugar into a pan over a medium heat. Once at boiling point, take off the heat.

12. Pour the melted mixture over the sifted icing sugar in a bowl, and beat until smooth.

13. With a palette knife, slather the rich rose buttercream icing over the heart on the warm pie, or over the entire top if you've a very sweet tooth. Serve tepid, with whipped cream and a ball of any extra rose buttercream.

This pie was idly baked while listening to Jimi Hendrix's album Electric Ladyland

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