The Rustic Pear Pie #cooking

School lunches – ‘dinners’ as they were known, despite that being a northern affectation – aren’t exactly a memory that creates a glow of nostalgia. I had a particularly bad relationship with the school shepherd’s pie to such an extent that even my mother could see the psychological damage the idea of eating it was having on me and sent me in with a note asking for me to be excused – I must have been in a bad way for that to happen.

There are some things that I only now recall as school food: pink sponge and pink custard; a dark green slime much like a type of seaweed that was marketed to us as cabbage; tapioca, which resembled frogspawn in every way; and a jam rolly-polly sponge that had such a tough suet crust that it was always known as ‘dead’s man arm’.

But one of the horrors was semolina pudding, which in memory was grainy and gritty in a sand in the sandwiches sort of way.

We had a bit of a lockdown clear out and there, in a box of pulses and grains was half a packet of semolina. I have no idea why or when we might have acquired it but neither of us like the idea of waste, so carefully avoiding the sell-by date, I decided to find something to cook with it.

Google suggested a rustic strawberry tart. Strawberries are beyond out of season so, hmm, what about pears?

I cooked up some to make a paste (chopped pears, a splash of apple juice, cook in a pan for ten minutes and liquidize) and chopped the remainder – three for each and set aside.

The pastry is easy if you use a food processor and the pastry blade. Tip 140gms unsalted chilled butter in cubes in with 225 gms of plain flour, 25 gms semolina (it’ll take a few tarts to get rid of our supply) a pinch of salt and blitz to make a bread crumb consistency. Beat an egg and add until it’s come together in a ball. Roll out on a floured board into a circle and chill for at least 30 mins.

I’m still not sure, and when the recipe says dust the board with flour and semolina begore rolling out further I’m wondering… They want a 35 cm round which is pretty large and meant I had to use a v. large baking tray.

Two things: cover the tray in grease proofed paper and be prepared for split to appear in the edge as you roll it. Worry not, you can press these together.

Spread your rolled circle on the paper and cover in pear bits. Leave and edge and bring this over the first ring of pear pieces. I then added my sauce working it between the pieces. Press the edge to crimp the pastry and brush with another beaten egg. You can tidy this edge up or leave it looking ‘rustic’.

Bake at 180C for 45 mins.

It’s a damn sight better than any school meal I had…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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36 Responses to The Rustic Pear Pie #cooking

  1. Last school dinner I had was salad served with mash potatoes with an egg yolk on top. This was followed by whipped egg whites and diced glace cherries. I went home and told Mum I’d take sandwiches in future as there was no way they were going to waste their hard earned money on me being given slops.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. trifflepudling says:

    I had a similar experience with Cheese Macaroni. It always had white flecks in it and looked and smelled pukey. One evening a nun said everyone had to stay at their tables until I’d eaten it. I was about 11 at the time. Eventually my big sister approached the nun and said in effect that it wasn’t going to happen! My mother wrote a note which I took in the next week. I was never offered any alternative so it was no food from 6.30pm until 8.15 the next morning but it was better than eating that stuff. It silently just disappeared from the menu a few months later. Other things the nuns made for us all in the evenings were very nice although there was no pud. The lunches, which were also for day girls,were a whole different story, though… yurgh. We too experienced mashed potato and salad, plus tinned beetroot cubes! No wonder we ate contraband chocolate after lights out.
    I’m sure your pud was very tasty!

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Cruelty comes in many shapes, but Britain was institutionally beetrootist back then. Poor little veg. I’m glad the Food Equality Act has restored its rightful place amongst root veg


  3. Darlene says:

    The rustic pear pie looks great. I make one similar with apples. Now I´m hungry.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. willowdot21 says:

    School dinner were very stressful especially if Sister Margarite or Sister Anne Marie, not very affectionately known as SAM, were on duty. Whatever much was Infront of us we told we could not leave until we had eaten the whole dinner. ” Did we not realize we were lucky to have food and millions of children in Africa and Indian were starving” Any answer however innocent was met with a swift slap with a ruler.
    Your tart, on the other hand looks good enough to grace any Bishop’s table 💜💜💜💜

    Liked by 3 people

  5. V.M.Sang says:

    Sounds interesting. I must try it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ritu says:

    We used to have the best school dinners, if I’m honest. Our Beryl’s Lemon Meringue Pie was epic!
    But your pie looks pretty good, too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Different generations. Yours were treated like it mattered if you were happy. For us they just wanted us to know in a tangible way that however good the morning had been there were always school dinners to bring you back to earth


      • Ritu says:

        🤣🤣 of His Geoffleship!
        I knowI’m one of a minority, who actually liked school dinners, but I do credit Beryl, et al, for my love of well cooked traditional British grub!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My mother has nothing good to say about school dinners either, Geoff. Of course, she had rationing for a lot of her younger years. I am not a semolina fan either, but this looks and sounds pretty nice. How is your grass doing? Ours is amazing seeing as all your rain seems have moved to our side of the world. I’ve never know it to rain this much.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I always envied kids who had a school cafeteria. Maybe I shouldn’t have having read this post. I had to pack my own lunch and had way too many egg salad and tuna salad sandwiches which didn’t hold up very well between early morning and lunch.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Mick Canning says:

    Mince with lumps of gristle and the almost liquid mashed potato with hard, black, stones. But worst of all was gypsy tart…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. M. L. Kappa says:

    We had a cook called Leonidas who made the most fantastic Greek food such as moussaka. At some point he retired and my sister who was two years younger had to make do with catered in rubbish such as cold pizza. The pie looks delicious, will try making it!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Well and thriftily done

    Liked by 2 people

  12. A lovely reminder of some of the horrors (and joys) of school dinners, Geoff. Pink custard was something I grew quite partial to, though it did seem to be unique to educational establishments, because I’ve never found it anywhere else. Another interesting item was a pasta concoction probably not dissimilar to cannelloni in that it was about the size of a Greggs sausage roll, its innards full of some kind of minced beef. What it was supposed to be seems to have slipped from my memory, probably overwritten there by the more descriptive name one of my mates gave it: Stuffed Donkey’s C*!k.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. katfoodblog says:

    its look good, thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

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