Elgin Ridge at The Test Kitchen – Cape Town

Original article by Terri Dunbar-Curran in Cape Times

INSTEAD of whipping up that old trusty vanilla sponge for your lunch guests this weekend, try something new with fresh seasonal produce. Now that apples and pears are in season, it’s the perfect time to whip up tasty tarts, crisp salads and baked goodies.

Tru-Cape decided to celebrate the season and the versatility of its apples and pears with a lunch at The Test Kitchen in Woodstock, where chef Luke Dale-Roberts created a variety of dishes featuring the fruit.

Sipping on apple bellinis  and Elgin Ridge Wines, guests tucked into a decadent lunch  of Abate Fetel Pear salad with parmesan, wild rocket and candied pecan nut brittle; braised pork belly with roasted baby Fuji apples stuffed with pork sausage mince and wrapped in bacon; and a syrupy Granny Smith tarte tatin.

The range of dishes you can create with fresh fruit are endless. So why not start with the humble, succulent pear?

Named after the Abbot who discovered the fruit in 1866, Abate Fetel pears are now available in supermarkets. They are usually exported and so are not often seen here, but because of over-supplied European markets, we have the chance to enjoy them too

It’s best to keep them in the fridge and eat them within a week, but when they start to lose their crispness, don’t get rid of them – add them to your favourite dishes.

To get you started here are a few tantalising recipes.

l For more recipes and information, see www.tru-cape.co.za

Green bean, bacon and pear affair

25g feta cheese, crumbled

50g pine nuts

60g streaky bacon cut into cubes

200g green beans

5ml olive oil

10ml unsalted butter

1 pear, cubed

1. Remove the heads and tails of the green beans, cut them in half diagonally and steam for 5 minutes or until al dente.

2. Add the pine nuts to a non-stick pan and toast over a high heat for 3 minutes, continually tossing them to prevent burning. Rremove and allow to cool.

3. Heat the oil and 5ml of the butter in a non-stick pan, fry the bacon until crispy, drain on paper towel.

4. Wipe the pan clean and heat the remaining butter. Add the pear and quickly fry for 1 minute.

5. Pour the pear and the pan’s butter over the green beans, add the bacon and toss well.

6. Sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts and crumble over the feta cheese.

Pear and blackberry tarts

50g butter, melted

50g blackberries, defrosted

30ml castor sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 pears, cored, peeled and sliced thinly (Use Abate Fetel, Beurre Bosc or Conference pears)

4 sheets of phyllo pastry

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

2. Cut the phyllo pastry into rectangles (12.5 cm x 11.5 cm).

Brush half the pastry rectangles with butter and place the remaining pastry on top of the buttered pastry.

Then brush the surface of the pastry with the beaten egg. Draw  a 1cm thick border with a sharp knife around the surface of the  pastry.

3. Heat 25g of the butter over a medium heat in a saucepan, add the pear slices and gently fry for 1 minute on each side, then cool the slices slightly.

4. Place the pear slices in the centre of the pastry, ensuring you do not go over the inner border. Brush the pear slices with the remaining melted butter and scatter the blackberries over the slices. Sprinkle over castor sugar and bake for 13 minutes.

Nutty Pear Fools

60g unsalted butter

100g nutty crunch biscuits, crushed

200g peanut brittle

80ml white sugar

250ml cream

250ml Greek yoghurt

120ml boiling water

2 pears, peeled and cored, thinly sliced

1. Melt the butter in a  saucepan and stir in the crushed biscuits.

2. Beat the cream until stiff, and fold in the yoghurt.

3. Melt the peanut brittle over a low heat with the boiling water and sugar until melted and syrupy, stir in the pear slices.

4. Layer the ingredients in the following order in a martini glass: biscuit, cream, pear slices, cream. Top with broken peanut brittle and a few pear slices.

5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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