- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2003

A croustade is an edible pastry container, a kind of open pie, not baked in a dish.

The French word sounds appealing, evoking the idea of a crisp, flaky crust. When it’s filled with pears, as in the following easy, seasonal recipe, you can add other associations: fruity flavor and texture and rich juice.

Here are some tips on pears:

• Bartlett pear season runs from July through November.

• To ripen Bartletts, place in a bowl at room temperature. Green and firm pears will take four to six days to ripen at room temperature.

• When pears turn from green to golden yellow in color, they are at their ripest, most flavorful stage.

• Once they have reached desired ripeness, place them in the refrigerator to slow further ripening. They can hold in the refrigerator for almost one week.

Bartlett pear and almond croustade

This recipe was created by the California Pear Advisory Board. The preparation time is 20 minutes, and the cooking time is 20 to 25 minutes.

Pastry for single crust

4 ripe, but firm, Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced

cup apricot preserves

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

teaspoon cinnamon

TOPPING:

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lay pastry flat on a large parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside. Place pears in a medium bowl and add preserves, brown sugar, cornstarch, extract and cinnamon; toss well to coat pears with mixture.

Mound pears in the center of the pastry and gather up the edges up to form a 2-inch rim of pastry around the outside. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, butter and brown sugar until crumbly; sprinkle over the opening of the pie and top with almonds.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool for at least 30 minutes to firm up the filling before cutting. Makes 4 servings.

ASSOCIATED PRESS


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