This no-need-to-cook food processor pastry is chock full of flavour, and can be prepared a day ahead.
1 cup (65 g/2¼ oz) shredded coconut
100 g (3½ oz) hazelnuts or almonds
12 pitted soft dates, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger, plus 2 cm (¾ in) piece ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 medium pears
½ cup (110 g/3¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
2 whole star anise
1 small lime, thinly sliced
2 cups (500 ml/17 fl oz) soda water (club soda)
¾ cup (200 g/7 oz) ricotta
½ cup (100 g/3½ oz) reduced-fat cream cheese
½ cup (130 g/4½ oz) natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons warmed honey
Line a 23 cm (9 in) flan (tart) pan with baking paper with overhanging sides to make it easy to lift the flan out.
Put the coconut in a food processor and blitz until fine. Add the hazelnuts, dates, finely grated ginger and cinnamon and pulse to a fine-crumb texture. Don’t worry if it is a bit more coarse than fine. Tip the mixture into a bowl and, using your hands, clump it together and press it evenly into the base and sides of the prepared tin. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm.
Peel the pears, cut into thick wedges and remove the core (leave the stalk on for decoration if you like).
Put the sugar, peeled ginger, star anise, lime and soda water in a large pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then reduce the heat to low and drop in the pears. Cover the pan and gently simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the pears are just tender. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the pears to cool in the liquor. Lift the pears out with a slotted spoon and drain well.
Whisk together the ricotta, cream cheese, yoghurt, lime zest and 1½ tablespoons of the honey until smooth and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the flan and arrange the pears on top. Brush the pears with the remaining honey.
Images and recipes from The Good Carbs Cookbook by Dr. Alan Barclay, Philippa Sandall, and Kate McGhie Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99 Photography by Alan Benson.