• 275gm (10oz) plain white flour
  • 125gm (4oz) caster sugar
  • 150gm (5 oz) unsalted cold butter
  • 350gm (12oz) dates
  • 450gm (1 pound) pears, or more dates
  • 40gm (1.5oz) butter,
  • 350gm (12oz) mascarpone
  • 4 eggs
  • 50gr (2oz) caster sugar
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons soft brown sugar
    90 minutes
    8 PEOPLE


  • Heat oven to 400: a hot oven.
  • Mix together the flour and caster sugar.
  • Rub in unsalted butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in 70ml (5 tbsp) cold water.
  • Gently knead dough until smooth.
  • Wrap in clingfilm and place in fridge for half an hour.
  • Remove dough from fridge and roll it out to line a circular pie dish, or rectangular swiss-roll tin. Thoroughly prick base and return to fridge to chill.
  • Bake blind until dry and light-golden.
(To bake blind place some greaseproof paper on chilled dough shell and weight it down with some dried pulses or beans, place in a moderately hot oven “ after 15 minutes remove paper and beans and return to oven to dry out for another ten minutes until golden). Reduce oven heat 325, moderately warm oven.
  • If using pears, peel, quarter them.
  • Stone and chop the dates in half.
  • Melt butter in sturdy saucepan with thick base or the dates will burn before they go soft.
  • Add dates and pears and cook over low heat until soft, at least five minutes.
  • Spoon fruit mixture into pastry base.
  • Whisk together the eggs until fluffy.
  • Add to the beaten eggs, the mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla and beat all together.
  • Pour over the dates.
  • The idea is to cover the dates with the creamy egg topping mixture, therefore a very large flat dish would probably not allow the egg mixture to cover the dates adequately; even two smaller pie dishes would be more satisfactory than one over-wide one.
  • Sprinkle half the brown sugar over the topping.
  • Bake at 325 until the topping is set (the pastry is pre-baked and the dates and pears are pre-cooked so you only want the topping to turn into a Baked Custard which is why you reduced the heat “ cooking eggs too fast makes them separate, remember watery scrambled eggs and how disgusting it is to see the whey?)
  • If desired, sprinkle over another 2 spoons brown sugar and flash under a hot grill to caramelise the sugar; this does run the risk of turning your custard watery so a quick flash is plenty.
  • Commented By ayesha | On March 28, 2009

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