Tuesday, 22 January 2008

‘In the Bag’ January 2008: the pear, nut, and lemon challenge...

Over at A Slice of Cherry Pie, Julia (along with a couple of others) has been running the ‘In the Bag’ challenge for a little while now.

This, though, is my first attempt, because I’ve only been aware of ITB since November and because I’ve only been food blogging since, er, earlier this month, actually. I’m a bit of a slow learner, you see.

Anyway, The Challenge... First dilemma – what to make? There are so many classic combinations involving pears and nuts that I found it (a) really difficult to decide what to do (I’m a Libran – what do you expect?), and (b) really difficult to come up with something even the slightest bit different from the norm. No, nobody was asking me to be particularly inventive – but, hey, where’s the challenge otherwise?

But I got there. Yes indeedy. Not entirely original, as you’ll see, but at least I got there. And it worked. And it was edible. In fact it was so edible that I’ll be making some more again very soon so as to avoid a domestic mutiny. So, here you have it – one challenge recipe, in the bag.

Pear and Hazelnut Brioche Toasts (serves 2) (an adaptation of this recipe)

4 slices brioche
½ cup icing sugar
2 tbsps softened unsalted butter
¾ cup hazelnuts, roasted and skinned
½ tsp vanilla extract (NOT essence!)
1 chilled large egg
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1. Take 4 slices of brioche, and toast each slice gently on each side, until just starting to brown – but no more. Set aside.
2. Put the oven on to warm, to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
3. Finely grind about three quarters of the hazelnuts (pretty much to a paste), and roughly grind the remaining nuts for decoration.
3. Beat icing sugar together with butter until light and fluffy, about 3 mins. Add ½ tsp of vanilla extract, and the finely ground roasted hazelnuts, and beat for another minute.
4. Beat in the egg until combined with the hazelnut mixture.
5. Peel and core the pears, and slice them to whatever thickness you like. Personally, I like ‘em chunky. Brush with lemon juice to prevent them discolouring.
6. Spread the nut mixture on the toasts, and then arrange the pear slices to suit.

pear and brioche toasts 1

7. Bake in the oven for about 25 mins, until the nut mixture has set and browned.
8. Remove from oven. Brush again with lemon juice if you like, and dust with icing sugar and roughly ground hazelnuts. Serve with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream and serve and eat straightaway!

pear and brioche toasts 2

pear and brioche toasts 3

pear and brioche toasts 4


Pixie said...

Well done on your first challenge; looks delicious!

Julia said...

Oh they look fantastic, and are certainly something a bit different. Well done, a really great job for your first blogging event!

Susan said...

That looks like a beautifully indulgent breakfast to me! Perfect flavors & textures!

Maggie said...

The photographs are wonderful. I want a piece now please!

Greg said...

Well, there it is! Those look fantastic. Tough competition in ITB.

Finla said...

Yumm. Look so good

Nilmandra said...

That looks really delicious! And lovely presentation too.

Heather said...

Ooh, that looks just divine. And very healthy! What, butter *is* one of the four food groups, right? :P

Mary said...

Oh those look super yummy!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Pixie and Julia - thank you! I enjoyed doing it, and - of course - eating it... ;)

Susan - I didn't think of it like that, but you're absolutely right

Margaret - thank you. I don't think it would travel well in the mail!

Greg, happy cook, Nilmandra, mary - thank you.

Heather - oh yes. Couldn't agree more! ;)

Mandy said...

this looks so good. I wish I could have a piece of this.

Gattina Cheung said...

you are so creative! and I am sure these toasts taste wonderful!

Anonymous said...

The shots look breathtaking! I'm pretty sure they tasted as delightful :)

Johanna GGG said...

these look just so lovely - seems like you rose to the challenge

TBC said...

Hi there!
I came here through your comment on my blog. Thanks for stopping by.:-)
You have a wonderful blog here and the pics here are simply beautiful! I will be back for more.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

It looks amazing... added to recipes 2 try :)


Anonymous said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

Minti said...

That's creative. Looks delicious!

MEM said...

Well those are just beautiful. a little gorgonzola on top and my wife would be all over them!

michael, claudia and sierra said...


The Caked Crusader said...

Now that just shouldn't be allowed! Is it wrong to want to eat this at 8.13am? If it is, I don't want to be right!

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