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New Oven Test – Almond and Pear Tart

After a several weeks’ break during which I had to take an unexpected trip to Virginia and then the two weekends over which I was moving, I’m back and blogging. The new apartment is great, but it’s different after having lived someplace else for nine years. I’m still adjusting to things like the noises that seem to come from other apartments, the new furniture arrangement to compensate for the smaller size of the new living room, and, of course, the oven.

The apartment into which I moved had completely new appliances, as could be determined by the stickers still left on them. I’m not even sure that all the burners on the stovetop had ever been lit. So, the first week has been one of testing and fiddle to make sure I didn’t scorch my morning coffee or burn my oatmeal. The burners are set a bit higher off of the flame than with my previous range so it’s been a little bit tricky to moderate the heat.

My next task has been to try to use the new oven itself. Aside from reheating leftovers and making toast (yes, I don’t have a toaster so I use the broil setting on the oven to make it), I haven’t actually tried to cook anything in the oven. I figured that it was time to try it out. When organizing my cookbooks in their new home, I rediscovered one that I’d picked up when I lived in the UK “Dangerous Desserts.” Being a sucker for great food photography and having a huge sweet tooth, I knew I’d found the place from which my next baking project would come.

I’ve already learned that the oven heats up quickly and gets very, very hot. It’s making me wonder if I should get an thermometer to see if the temperature is really what it says it is on the reader. Everything is electric and programmable, which is quite a change from my 1980s-era former appliance. One of the adjustments that I’ve made is to put food on the bottom shelf when cooking it (except for toast). This seems to make it easier to manage and to control the rate at which things heat up.

That trick seemed to work very well with this recipe. When I took the tart out of the oven, it was golden brown with the almonds lightly toasted. The filling was set completely, and the pears were cooked through with a hint still of their body so that they were not mushy at all. I served up a healthy slice for myself, as you can see. The orange peel and rum added a special depth to the flavor, rounding out the almond and pear filling.

This dessert was not too sweet or too rich. The recipe says to serve it with crème fraîche, but I think that that would be overdoing it and is not at all necessary. I definitely think that this one to hang onto for a dinner party or special supper in the future.

Buon appetito!

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