Delight in a delicate Christmas dessert

Glengara Care’s Head Chef, Craig Etches, shares his favourite Christmas recipe – poached pear frangipane tart served with seasonal berries.

Poached pear frangipane tart

Craig’s favourite recipe for the festive season is a traditional French poached pear frangipane tart. The delicate flavours of pears, an almond filling and buttery pastry complement each other to create an irresistible sweet treat. There are three parts to this recipe – poached pears, sweet pastry, and a fragrant frangipane filling. Craig recommends starting with the poached pears, ideally making these a few days in advance.

Poached pear frangipane tart

Serve with soft peak whipped cream and seasonal berries.

Poached pears:

Ingredients

  • 600ml water
  • 1 nip of vanilla essence
  • 2 anise pods
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 150ml red wine
  • 150ml port wine
  • 2 pears, peeled and cored

Method

1. Mix all ingredients together, except pears.
2. Poach whole pears in this liquid until soft.
3. Place pears and syrup in the fridge to cool.
4. Keep pears for a couple of days in the syrup, then drain and slice for tart.
5. Discard the syrup after use, or keep to poach other fruits.

Sweet pastry:

Ingredients

  • 340g plain flour
  • 120g icing sugar
  • 200g softened butter
  • 2 egg yolks

Method

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
2. Use a food processor to mix the flour, icing sugar and butter together. Once these ingredients resemble breadcrumbs, add egg yolks and stop processing as soon as the mix has come together with the yolks.
3. Wrap pastry in glad wrap to rest, and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out into a greased 30cm tart tin. Rest for an additional 30 minutes in fridge.
5. Blind bake* for 20 minutes at 190 degrees.
6. Remove non-stick baking paper and bake a further 10 min at 190 degrees or until golden brown.

* If you’re new to baking, blind baking simply means partially cooking a pastry crust without a filling, to ensure it’s golden brown and not at all soggy. Generally, it’s best to weigh the pastry down in the centre so it doesn’t puff up. Line the pastry with non-stick baking paper and then add some weight such as uncooked rice, dry beans, or sugar. Make sure these are evenly distributed, right up to the edges.

Frangipane mix:

Ingredients

  • 480g butter
  • 600g castor sugar
  • 800g ground almonds
  • 8 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons of brandy

Method
1. While you’re blind baking the pastry, blend all ingredients for the frangipane mix together.

Putting it all together
1. It’s best to poach the pears a few days early so they can absorb the flavours of the syrup.
2. Once you’ve blind baked the pastry, place frangipane mix in the cooked tart case.
3. Place sliced poached pears on top of frangipane mix.
4. Bake at 180 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown.
5. Cool and serve with soft peak cream and seasonal berries.

Bringing fresh flavours and a holiday atmosphere to Glengara Care

Glengara Care Fresh ProduceAs Glengara Care’s Head Chef, Craig loves nothing more than seeing residents enjoy his culinary creations. “Making residents happy is the best part of the job,” he says. “I see them every day and follow up on every single meal.”

Craig’s passion for fresh produce, seasonal flavours and a resident-led menu sets Glengara Care apart. As well as cooking five fresh meals a day, Craig meets with residents every month to find out what they want to see on the menu. He also sources fresh produce from the retirement village’s community garden and schedules regular themed events.

“Our residents asked for a roast on a Sunday, fish and chips on a Friday, and regular barbecues,” said Craig. “Now we have a barbecue every second Friday evening, starting with happy hour at 3.30pm. I cook different types of meat, from king prawns to satay chicken tenderloins to beef sausages with rosemary.

“We have ice buckets and chilled glasses, so the barbecue evening feels like you’re at a resort. It’s a real outdoor experience for our residents and it feels like you’re on holiday – even for me.

“Residents requested that we go for quality over quantity when it comes to prawns, so I’ve changed the type of prawns I buy. I make the side dishes with fresh home-grown produce from the garden, such as wholesome potato salad with green beans or a vine-ripened tomato salad with basil.

“I love working out of a brand new kitchen with the latest technology and a $50,000 oven. That means we can slow cook meat over 24 hours and retain its quality, resulting in a great experience for the residents.”

Craig’s experience and pride in his work shine through and he ensures his food is as fresh as possible. “I put the chips down five minutes before service so they’re nice and crispy. After all, hot chips make a complete meal!”

Glengara Care is a genuine alternative to aged care on the Central Coast and, with Craig at the helm of the commercial kitchen, it’s helping to flip traditional expectations of aged care cuisine on their head!

Glengara Care Chef

Sample menu at Glengara Care

Breakfast: Daily breakfast pack with cereal, fresh fruit, refreshments and a side of toast delivered to your room.
Hot breakfast served once a month.
Morning tea: Home-made scones with fresh cream and jam.
Lunch: Parmesan and fresh herb-encrusted snapper with potato wedges and side salad of semi-dried tomatoes and soft feta cheese.
Afternoon tea: Baked citrus tarts with strawberry salad.
Dinner: Braised lamb shanks in a tomato and root vegetable sauce, served on a bed of parsley mash potato.

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