Apples or Pears?

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Autumn is here! I love this season. The weather turns towards worse, so I turn towards the more of a comfort food, to keep warm.
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There are two great fruit at abundance now (and for quite some months to come): apples and pears. I always feel like people give way too much attention to apples, completely forgetting about an even more amazing pears. I mean, they are as versatile as apples, can be used for cooking, baking, eating fresh, just like apples again, and yet a pear pie recipe is not a part of so many cuisines as an apple pie. Why? I love pears, I think they are great and should be appreciated a bit more by everyone (a pear appreciation society?). But when it comes to a pie I like to mix both apples and pears. This makes the filling for my recipe a little bit more special. If you use nice baking apples, after cooking them for 15 to 20 minutes they will loose some water and change into an incredible mousse.  Pears won’t do that, they will stay in the nice slices. And that will create the ultimate filling: nice crispy pears in an apple mousse. Just give it a try and you will see my point.
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Apple and Pear Pie
For the pastry:
  • 120 g of butter, softened,
  • 80 g confectionery sugar,
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half, seeds removed,
  • 75 g ground walnuts,
  • pinch of salt,
  • 1 egg,
  • 200 g flour.
  1. Sift the confectionery sugar to the soft butter. Add the vanilla seeds, ground almonds and salt. Beat with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated.
  2. Add the egg and beat it in.
  3. Sift the flour and beat the mixture for a couple of minutes until you get a smooth dough. Form a flat disk, cover with a plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
  4. Roll out 2/3 of the dough and put in a 20 cm spring form.
  5. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork.
For the filling:
  • 4 baking apples, peeled and cored,
  • around 700 g pears, peeled and cored,
  • 1 tbsp of honey,
  • 1 stick cinnamon,
  • 1 star anise,
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional),
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs.
  1. Cut apples and pears into thin slices (3 mm thick) and put in a heavy bottom pan. Add cinnamon and star anise. Cook for 10 to 20 min, until apples become a mousse.
  2. Let it cool slightly. Add honey and optionally the raisins.

Assemble the tart:

  1. Spread the bread crumbs at the bottom of the tart. Pour in apples and pears.
  2. Take the reserved 1/3 of the dough and great it over the pie.
  3. Bake in the centre of the oven at 180 C for 30-40 minutes, until the dough is golden.
  4. Let it cool for at least an hour.
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