Bambinella and Duck Eggs

IMG_3929Bambinella….. a very small pear, present in most vegetable shops here in Gozo and Malta. The season for this unusual, pretty fruit is summer. Pyrus Communis var. Bambinella…. is also called "The Small Maltese June Pear".

This ‘miniature’ pear is a familiar sight on our Maltese Islands. In 2009 it was exported to London and sold at Mark’s and Spencer’s!       Native to Malta? Yes. But unique to Malta?  I cannot state this unless I am 100% sure… and I am not. It might grow in Sicily because of our similar climates, and I have also read that trees are exported to the UK and grown in Kent.  So, in this case, I shall not say: "unique"….as my friend Shaun taught me!

Bambinella have a pink-blushed skin and are crisp in texture. The crunch is followed by a sweet tart taste. Delicious. Like apples, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, cherries and almonds they come from the rose family, Rosaceae.

IMG_3895They can be cooked or eaten raw. Perfect for a last minute addition to a picnic by the sea. Just a wash and go! This is what I would call ‘fast’ food.

IMG_3910My friend Samuel has 3 ducks. And the first 3 eggs were very kindly passed to me! Fantastic! Duck eggs have twice the nutritional value of hens' eggs. With more albumen and richer yolks, the mix rises better and makes fluffier cakes and pastries. Perfect for baking! Bigger than hens’ eggs and with shells that vary in colour depending on the breed of duck, they have a ‘rustic’ look to them. Pretty, even. Some have a tint of blue-green, others speckled. Nice enough to use in decorating.

My frangipani mix, some sweet pastry, all made with duck eggs. Bambinella almond tart. Just substitute hens' eggs with duck eggs in your recipe. Another tip… add some finely grated lemon zest to the frangipani. It will bring out the flavours of each ingredient.

In an ideal world, i would live in a beautiful Mediterranean house with my own Bambinella, Lemon and Almond trees, ducks running around and a fantastic Le Cornue oven. So, the closest I can get to this dream is baking this tart, that does taste like a dream… like my dream to be precise!

Claire Borg

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