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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pear and Frangipane tart with Amarula Custard

I think this picture says my 1000 words; it's everything about this little number that I want you to know.

Pear and Frangipane tart with Amarula custard

I don't think people use pears enough in desserts, but they are a firm favourite of mine. The pear and frangipane tart is by no means an original idea - this is just my cheeky take on the original idea. It is important to get large, juicy ripe pairs and to have a delicate hand when making this recipe, all the flavours are delicate and the poaching, pastry making and putting together require some love and time. But then again I think all good food needs that.

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

100g butter
200g flour
1 tbsp castor sugar
90 ml cold water

Pears (to poach):
4 large pears (pealed, cored and halved)
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla pod (deseeded)

frangipane filling:
75g butter (at room temp)
100g castor sugar
2 eggs (at room temp)
100g  PnP blanched almonds (blended until powder)

Chocolate leaves: (if you want to)
80g dark chocolate
non-poisonous leave to paint i.e. lemon leaves

Amarula Custard:
2 eggs
3 tbsp cornflour
2 cups milk
1 cup amarula

For the pastry:
Pop the butter, flour and sugar into a food processor and blitz until the texture resembles bread crumbs. Add the water whilst blitzing again until the pastry comes together and forms and a rough ball. Dust a working surface with flour, turn out, bring together and roll into a ball. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for 20 min. Meanwhile:
Preheat the oven to 180*C

For the pears:
Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod
Bring the sugar, water and vanilla seeds up to the boil and pop the pears into a sauce pan, cover and simmer for 12 minutes until the pears are just tender. Remove from the poaching liquid and set aside to cool.
(At this point, if you want to go the extra mile, you can reduce the vanilla and sugar water until it becomes a thick syrup to glaze the pears.)
Roll the pastry to fit into a loose bottomed tart tin in the shape of your choice (I used a rectangular one). Grease the tin and press the pastry into the tin so that the edges overlap slightly. Prick the pastry and blind bake for 1o minutes, then remove covering and bake for a further 8 minutes until pastry is beginning to lightly brown on the edges. Set aside to cool.

For the frangipane filling:
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time until well combined. Add the blitzed almonds and flour and fold through. spread evenly through the bottom of the tart case and top with the cooled pears. Baste pears with a little sugar syrup. Baked for 25-30 minutes, until set and starting to brown. Remove and set aside to cool.

To make the chocolate leaves:
Simply melt the chocolate and paint a thick layer of chocolate on the back of each leaf. Allow to set on a plate, leaf-side down. Once set, carefully peal off the chocolate and set aside until needed

To make the custard:
Mix together the milk, flour and eggs in a heavy-based saucepan and whisk over medium heat until thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon), add the Amarula and continue whisking until thickened.
Serve generous slices of the tart with spoonfuls of custard and decorate with chocolate leaves.

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