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Pecorino's pear and almond gratin (gratin di pere e mandorla)

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 10
Pecorino's pear and almond gratin (gratin di pere e mandorla)
(Los Angeles Times)
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This delectable dish comes to us from Times Food section staffers who recommended it as a beautifully executed example of a quintessential Italian recipe. Pecorino’s pear gratin, which layers crisp cookies and poached pear with a luscious almond cream, is a showstopper of a dessert.

From the story: From start to finish

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

From Raffaele Sabatini at Pecorino. Savoiardi cookies are available at Italian markets.