What do you call a pear dessert that is topped with a ground rice cake, of sorts?
That is only one of a number of unusual recipes found in Jenni Fleetwood’s One-pot, Slow-pot, and Clay-pot Cooking, (2002) recently purchased on Amazon.com for $.01 plus shipping.
Although Jenni’s book has a clear Mediterranean influence with its share of tajines and tians, there is an abundant global feel to it from such specialties as Truffade, an amazing French cheese and potato dish, Brazilian Pork and Rice Casserole, and Stir Fried Crispy Duck.
I originally borrowed this cookbook from my local library and was mesmerized by the array of mouth watering photos throughout. By the time I made it to the dessert section and considered the pear and almond dessert with ground rice, absolutely no further enticement was necessary: I wanted it all—immediately.
In terms of American dessert vernacular, this pear dish would most likely fall somewhere in the range of cobblers, slumps, and grunts. However, its simple almond-studded-cake-like-topping-dusted-with-powdered-sugar has far more cache than any rustic biscuit or crumble finish.
Indeed, now is the time to think pears, since most markets have plenty of varieties to choose from. I went for the Comice. Even though it is known more as a raw eating pear, it is also juicy and incredibly sweet. Turns out, its rich perfume and creaminess were just what I needed, and the wedges held their shape beautifully.
While at it, I purchased an inexpensive spice grinder since ground rice has more texture that rice flour. It is this slight crunchy contrast from the ground jasmine rice that adds another fun dimension to the dessert. I suspect cornmeal could be substituted for the rice, but the flavor would not be the same.
I served it warm with my convenient custard sauce that seems to be a regular in my refrigerator these days. No question, I would call this Decidedly Delicious.
Pear, Almond, and Ground Rice Pie
Adapted from One-pot, Slow-pot & Clay-pot Cooking, Jenni Fleetwood
3 ripe Comice pears
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temp
½ cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ground rice, Jasmine is good
¼ cup sliced almonds
Accompaniment: custard sauce or vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a pie dish, then peel and cut the pears into thick wedges and arrange in dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Place the butter and granulated sugar in a medium mixing bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time; stir in the almond extract. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt; add the ground rice and combine the dry ingredients well. Fold it all into the creamed mixture.
- Spread the thick batter over the pear wedges in the baking dish; level the surface with a knife.
- Sprinkle the sliced almonds even over the top and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched. Serve warm or cold with custard sauce or ice cream. Serves: 6