Its that time of year when Summer is drifting away and Autumn comes calling. Orchard fruits are everywhere and here I use pears as a crown on a bed of stilton custard and walnut pastry. its another alternative to a cheese board or a great starter to a fancy meal. It is a quiche but dressed up to impress!
175g plain flour. 90g butter. 2 Tbs cold water. 50g walnuts (blitz in food processor) Pinch salt.
Using fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add salt and walnuts. Add the water a little at a time and mix until it makes a firm dough. Wrap in film and chill in the fridge for half an hour. Heat the oven to 190 degrees. Grease a 20cm loose bottomed tin. remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Lift the pastry and line the tin with it, easing in with thumbs and fingers. Run the rolling pin over the top to trim the excess. Put the tin into the freezer for ten minutes to chill down. Place a sheet of greaeproof paper over the chilled pastry and fill with baking beans (or dried pasta/rice) this is to partially blind bake the pastry to prevent a soggy bottom. Pop this in the oven and bake for ten minutes, then remove paper and beans and bake for a further five minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 160 degrees. remove the pastry from the oven.
Beat 2 eggs and add 150ml double cream, mix well. Add 100g crumbled stilton cheese and a handfull of crushed walnuts.
Peel four small pears and place in a pan containing 100g sugar,100ml white wine and 100ml red wine and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring to boil and then simmer until the pears are tender. Remove from syrup and cool. Slice the bottoms off to so they will stand upright.
Place the custard into the pastry shell and then stand the pears in the custard. Bake in the oven until the custard is just set. Serve hot or Cold. The image shows apricots set into the custard too, which is another option!