Our virtual mailbag was overflowing with fabulous entries to our Autumn recipe competition. Clearly you all love the flavours of Autumn as much as we do. We have thoroughly enjoyed cooking, baking and of course eating all your wonderful recipe submissions!
The winning recipe was Chris Hunt’s Pear, Fig and Ginger Meringue Flan.
Initially it was quite tough whittling down all the entries but when it came to the final cut the winning dish really did stand out. We selected Chris’ recipe because of the use of seasonal fruits, the lovely mix of textures and for the beautiful balance of delicate, sweet and warming flavours. Chris’ recipe is well written, easy to follow and we especially love the tip for avoiding a soggy bottomed pastry. The Meringue Flan tastes delicious, looks sensational and we would encourage everyone to give it a go!
Congratulations to Chris for this award-winning recipe!
Chris told us that she loves this recipe because it, ‘uses fruit in season and is a chance to use figs which are often overlooked as an ingredient. The flan can be made with either the meringue topping or just left plain. It is a sweet dessert which can be served with a nice ginger custard or some cream’. Chris also sent us this lovely photograph of the dish:
- 23cm Flan tin
- Chopping board
- Food Processor
- Hand mixer or free standing mixer
- Baking beans or dried rice
- Icing bag and nozzle (optional)
For the Shortcrust Pastry
- 200g plain flour
- 100g butter, chilled
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the Frangipans
- 100g ground almonds, plus 2 tablespoons extra (I ground some fresh almonds and then roasted this in the oven at 160 C for 10 minutes)
- 100g butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 eggs
For the Meringue topping
- 2 free-range egg whites
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- In a food processor blitz together the flour, ginger and butter to create a crumb texture. Mix together the egg, water and lemon juice and gradually add the liquid till the dough starts to form into a ball (you may need to add more water if it’s looking a little dry).
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until about 3mm thick and line a 23cm round, leave excess pastry hanging over the top & prick the bottom with a fork. Refrigerate for 15-30 mins.
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Line the pastry case with grease proof paper and fill with baking beans or rice, you now want to bake your pastry blind for 12 mins, remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5 minutes to brown the pastry slightly. Leave the flan case to cool . The flan case can be prepared the day before if it helps.
- Beat together the butter & sugar until fluffy to begin the frangipane. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Slice the figs length ways and peel and slice thinly the pears. Sprinkle the cooled pastry case with ground almonds, this should help prevent a soggy bottom.
- Spoon over the frangipane mixture and smooth out pushing to the edges. Push the fig and pear slices into the frangipane.
- Bake for 30 mins in the oven at 160°C. Leave to cool.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully cut around the edges to achieve a neat edge.
- For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a free-standing mixer until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again.
- Pipe on top of the filled flan to cover all the filling. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 180 C until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp.