This pair of delectable dishes comes to us from Times Food section staffers who recommended them as beautifully executed examples of quintessential Italian recipes. La Terza’s meltingly soft roasted peppers, seasoned with garlic and anchovies, make a wonderful appetizer. Pecorino’s pear gratin, which layers crisp cookies and poached pear with a luscious almond cream, is a showstopper of a dessert.
Pecorino's pear and almond gratin (gratin di pere e mandorla)
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and one-half cup sugar. Beat in the almond flour. Add the eggs one at a time, beating constantly until smooth. Refrigerate the batter.
Combine the water, wine, lemon peel and remaining one-half cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the pears, in batches if necessary, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain the pears, reserving the liquid. Thinly slice the pears, but keep the slices together in the form of the half pear. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
For each serving, use an individual ramekin or gratin dish (about 1 by 4 1/2 inches or twice the size of a pear half). Line the bottom of each dish with 3 cookies to form a base. Saturate the cookies with several tablespoons of the syrup from the cooked pears.
Place 1 pear half on top of the cookies, fanning the slices slightly. Spoon 3 tablespoons almond batter over each pear half. Just before serving, bake at 450 degrees about 7 minutes. Brown the tops under the broiler for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm.