Guess what guess what guess what! I am home! Roy and I flew in to Honolulu a few days ago, and we’ve been spending much needed time with our families, eating lots and lots of ahi, and my favorite thing of all–relaxing. Because I am a bear and I need to hibernate.
I’m slowly getting used to the heat and humidity here, though it’s been unusually muggy and rainy and most of the time I feel like I’m in some perpetual state of sticky. All it makes me want to do is lie completely still on the living room floor.
It’s so interesting to see the city during fall, as the last time I’ve been home during this time was the year before I left for college. Things feel slower and less crowded without the summer tourists and kids on break from school. I keep having flash backs to my life in high school and it’s weird and oddly comforting and I can’t believe it’s almost been 6 years that I’ve lived in Los Angeles. 6 whole years!
So far we’ve done some of the necessary things I end up missing, like breakfast at Jack’s, poke at my favorite spot in town, and hiking. But I’ve also gotten to enjoy common things like shopping, sleeping in, and finally watching Inside Out and Avengers 2 (!!!). Days usually consist of a lot of lounging around. I am in ultimate couch potato mode. But now that I’ve had enough time to recuperate from my hectic schedule over the last few months, I am just about ready spend some full days exploring home!
Hey, wait a second–I should probably start talking about this Pear Frangipane Tart, because that’s most likely why you’re reading this! Sorry! I’ve always been very fascinated by the Medieval and Renaissance periods, and recently started doing a lot of research on food during that time as part of an Art History class. Frangipane is a filling made out of ground almonds, eggs, butter, and sugar. It’s commonly used for cakes, pies, and tarts and whose roots can be traced all the way back to the 11th century. I spent a good amount of time looking into using a traditional recipe for the tart. And by traditional, I’m talking all “taketh ye flour of wheat” (kidding… but not really), which is actually really hard to cook with because no one used accurate measuring tools back then! But a big thank you to my friend, Lindsey, who so generously lent me a bunch of her Renaissance cookbooks to look through. She also knows a ton about all things Renaissance after working as an actor at the Renaissance fair. How cool is that?? Sometimes I can’t get over how many interesting and super awesome people I’ve met this year!
I took a lot of inspiration here from Renaissance still life paintings, and a few of my favorite bloggers who’ve got their rustic and moody food photography on point 😉 It was hectic (as always with food blogging!) but so much fun to create this photo set as a class project. I had even more fun giving my presentation and could have talked about the process and answered questions for much longer than I needed to present for! It’s really surprised me how my love for food, blogging, photography, and this community has grown into such a big part of my life.
p.s. and if you’re wondering, there was no slice of Frangipane left by the end of class! Which means yes, you should totally totally totally try this!!!
Pear Frangipane Tart
begin → poached pears
5 cups water (or enough to cover the pears completely)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
peel of 1 lemon
3 Berre Bosc or William pears, ripe but firm
1. Mix all ingredients, except for the pears, together in a large pot. Bring to a boil.
2. Peel the pears and cut them down the middle. Remove the core and slice into eighths. Add the pear slices to the pot of boiling water. Let cook for 5-10 minutes until the pears are thoroughly soft but not mushy. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and transfer to a deep bowl. Remove the poaching liquid from the heat and pour it over the pears. Make sure they are completely covered. Let the pears cool to room temperature before removing.
3. Once cool, strain and dry the slices with paper towels or a dish cloth. Make sure to get as much excess liquid out as possible so that they do not make the tart soggy.
add + pastry dough
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
9 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water
1. Using a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add in cold butter and process until the mixture is the size of peas. Add the egg yolk and continue to mix until fully combined. Pulse in the cold water until the dough comes together.
2. Lightly butter the tart pan before pressing the dough into it. Save any extra dough for repairing possible cracks. Pop the tart shell in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the tart for 12 minutes, until it is lightly golden. Set aside to cool. Repair any cracks with the extra dough.
add + frangipane
7 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup castor sugar
2/3 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1. Turn down the oven temperature to 350˚F.
2. Beat the butter until pale and creamy. Add in the sugar and beat till light and fluffy. Add in one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the ground almonds and flour until fully combined.
3. Fill the cooled tart shell with the frangipane. Spread it out evenly. Arrange the poached pear slices in a circular design around the top of the tart. Press down slightly to adhere it to the frangipane.
4. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the frangipane has browned slightly.
5. Cool completely, then remove from tart pan. Dust with a little bit of powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy!
Reader Rating: 0 Votes