The fruit of fall is a welcome sign that the air will soon be brisk as the seasons changes. A new crop of freshly picked apples and pears begin to appear at the markets, begging to be brought home, My weakness for pears always has me searching for new ways to feature this majestic specimen. Simplicity has always been my preferred approach in the kitchen, so when devouring Rolando Beramendi’s book Autentico early last winter, I could hardly wait to prepare Chiara’s Pear Torte a staple of Chiara Massiero of Trattoria Cammillo in Firenze.
An exquisite presentation featuring the essence of the fruit, La Torta di Pere della Chiara is an essential this Autumn and certainly a must for your Thanksgiving table. Mounds of thinly sliced pears, held together with the simplest of batter & slowly baked, this pear torte typifies all that is right in a cake.
The original recipe calls for Demerara sugar, however I have used both Demerara and Turbinado sugar with wonderful results. Select firm, under-ripe, unblemished pears for Chiara’s Pear Torte and keep an eye on the cashier at check-out to be certain that the pears are handled with care, the slightest bang will bruise the fruit. Peeled, cored, and thinly sliced the mound of pears come together and require no special arranging in the springform pan.
Rolando suggests preparing the torte a day or two in advance and then cover with plastic wrap to allow the flavors to meld. Trust me, this requires the utmost in self control, the finished Torte di Pere della Chiara is an absolute capolavore or work of art and so difficult to resist. Serve this masterpiece unadorned with perhaps a nice espresso or vin santo .
My extensive collection of Italian cookbooks dates back to my teen years and represents the best of the Italian peninsula. As the years move forward my purchases are exceedingly measured, selecting carefully. Autentico is a selection of stories illustrating the families, history and recipes that bring the true warmth and authenticity of what Italy is about. Treat yourself or a loved one to a gift of this special book.
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- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Demerara or Turbinado sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. of aluminum-free baking powder
- ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbs. dark rum
- 1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 5 or 6 medium Bartlett, Bosc, or any other firm pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350º. Thoroughly butter a 10 inch springform pan. Sprinkle the pan with 1 tablespoon of the sugar, covering the bottom and sides.
- In a large bowl whisk together the 1 cup of sugar with the flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, heavy cream, rum and vanilla to combine. Add the sliced pears and gently toss using your hands to coat the pears evenly. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pans and evenly spread them. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over the top of the pears.
- Place the pan on a baking sheet and place in the center of the oven until the top is golden, brown and firm to the touch - about 2 hours.
- Remove to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes then run a sharp knife around the sides of the pan to ensure that the torte comes away from the sides easily.
- Cool completely, wrap in plastic and serve the following day to allow the flavors to develop.