I am so happy to reinstate the monthly collaborative feature here on Feasting on Art. Alyson, the designer behind the website redesign, is also the blogger behind the charming design site, Unruly Things. I visit her blog daily to gush over pretty vintage finds and inspiring photography. In addition to her design company Seventy & Sunny, Alyson runs a letterpress shop called Postal Press where her appreciation for specimen charts manifested into a letterpress calendar. It seemed only appropriate that we would deconstruct a botanical art illustration.

Visit Alyson’s blog, Unruly Things, for the recipe for Pear Almond Sticky Buns.

Johann Christian Berndt, Plate 21, 1809-1812,
colour plate of pear varieties from Johann Ludwig Christ’s book, Vollständige pomologie, Royal Horticultural Society

Johann Christian Berndt was a German copper engraver who worked in Frankfurt in the late 18th and early 19th century. He contributed to the botanical book Vollständige pomologie (Complete Pomology) by Johann Ludwig Christ. Pomology refers to the study and classification of fruit (the word poma from the Latin root meaning tree fruit). Pomologic writings date back to the 18th century but it was not until the 19th century that a real interest in breeding new varieties and producing richly illustrated books developed. The plate of pear illustrations by Berndt depicts 15 different varieties of fruit with one revealing a cross section and exposing the pitt. The variations between each fruit are meticulously detailed and demonstrate the way in which the botanical art of this period was an aesthetic climax – the scientific and artistic enthusiasm evident in natura sospensa paintings from the Renaissance manifested in the botanical books of the 19th century.

{Pear, Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Pizza}

2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 TB olive oil
black pepper
sea salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/2 TB balsamic vinegar

lemon-rosemary pizza crust, divided into three balls
goat cheese
pear, thinly sliced
prosciutto, torn into small pieces

Slice the onions and place in a small pot with the oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Sweat the onions until they are soft and add the balsamic vinegar. Cook on a very low heat with the lid on the pot for 30 minutes.

Roll out the pizza dough and top first with the onion and thin slices of pear. Add half of the goat cheese and bake until toasted, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining goat cheese and torn pieces of prosciutto.


{Lemon-Rosemary Pizza Crust}

2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 TB olive oil
3/4 c + 1TB warm water
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp rosemary

Pour all of the dry ingredients onto a large countertop. Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the olive oil and warm water. Begin incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet and continue handling and kneading the dough until it is quite elastic. Cover with a towel and let sit for 1 hour.

Punch out the air from the dough and separate into three portions. Roll out on a floured surface with a floured pin and place on an oiled baking sheet. Top with ingredients and bake in a 180C oven for about 20 minutes until golden and toasted. Slice and serve.