There´s more to the Seville orange than just marmalade.Almond poached pear tart with Seville orange creme fraiche

 a tart that tests the tastebuds
I love marmalade but,for a variety of reasons (indolence for one), I procrastinate when it comes to making it.Well my guilty conscience can now rest as this years batch has been put to bed.Made,jarred,labelled it now sits proudly on the larder shelf awaiting the first guests of the season to arrive for breakfast.
Apparently consumption of marmalade continues to fall – a pattern of decline that looks set to continue given that the majority of marmalade eaters like myself are over the age of 65.Oh dear,what a mine of trivia I have become. But what of the implications of bitter oranges falling out of favour in our own cuisine? Could it be, I wonder, a sign that we are losing our appreciation of bitter tastes as a whole? Bitterness adds a depth of flavour that is missing from fruit which is predominantly sweet or sour. By including it you will literally be activating more of the taste buds, so that the whole taste experience is more complex, less one dimensional.We are born with the basic ability to appreciate sweetness because it tells us when things are fully ripe, but also the addition of bitterness can prevent sweet dishes from becoming cloying. Sourness is the direct opposite of this and is often likened to the white in an artist’s palette, in that a little of it will lighten and lift a dish and actually enhance our perception of the sweetness that exists. Try squeezing a little lemon juice over strawberries rather than adding sugar and see which tastes sweeter. If sour is the white in an artist’s palette then bitter equates to black, allowing the cook to create shade and depth in a dish. Strangely people often confuse these two, perhaps because either, in excess, will cause one to wince and screw up the face in dislike. The two can also exist together, making distinction more difficult.Could it be that our basic taste receptors have adapted in response to industrial food production?   The main purpose of additives is to enhance the attractiveness of food to us, but it does seem that the majority of these are based on sugar or salt.  Consider our taste in chocolate for example.  Pure cacao is unpalatably bitter so a degree of sugar is needed to make chocolate for eating, but although we are beginning to appreciate chocolate with higher cocoa solids, the majority of that sold is still milk and quite sweet.  Palates do of course differ and gauging the degree of bitterness that others will enjoy is difficult – you have only to think about the differing amounts of sugar that individuals choose to add to tea or coffee.  A quick test to assess your own, or others, tolerance to bitterness is simply to add, one drop at a time, some Angostura Bitters to a glass of sparkling mineral water.In this instance you should choose a brand that is more salty because the combination of the salt and the carbonation, should make an enjoyably refreshing drink but exactly how much Angostura to add will be how you ascertain your personal taste.
To test this theory I have made a tart that tests the tastebuds.This tart has sweet,bitter and sour running every which way through it.
Almond poached pear tranche 
with Seville orange creme fraiche
For me, pear and almond flavours are a match made in heaven. Must be all the French pear and frangipane tarts I have eaten in my lifetime!
This is one of the tastiest and prettiest desserts you will ever make. Sweet, soft pears with a good hint of both bitter orange and sweet almond liqueur. And the best part? Its easy too. 
375g pack ready rolled shortcrust pastry
250g golden caster sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) almond liqueur
1/2 cup (125 ml) orange liqueur
1/2 cup (125 ml )Seville orange juice,strained
325ml water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 large orange, ½ peeled and ½ zested
4 small Rocha pears, peeled
125ml crème fraîche
100g  thick double cream
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
125g icing sugar, sieved, plus extra to serve
20g pistachios, finely chopped 
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4
Use the pastry to line a 35cm x 12cm loose-bottomed tart tin, then trim the excess pastry. Leave in the fridge for 15 mins
Line the pastry with grease proof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 mins, then remove the paper and beans, and increase the heat to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6
Bake for another 15-20 mins, or until golden and firm on the bottom. Leave to cool completely.
Put the sugar, almond liqueur,orange liqueur,vanilla,and orange peel in a pan over a medium heat then stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and poach gently for 25-30 mins, until tender.
Drain, leave to cool, then cut each one in half and remove the core
Whisk the crème fraîche, cream, vanilla seeds, icing sugar and orange zest together until thick.Spoon into the tart case, then top with the pears.
Chill for at least 2 hours,or overnight, then scatter with the nuts and icing sugar to serve.


Popular Posts