It’s not very often that I’m faced with an excess of fruit lying staring me in the face, leaving me wondering what to do with it. When it does happen, I’ve found the best way to use it up is to convert it into a dessert of some sort. After all, how many people do you know who would say no to dessert?
This time around the culprits were some pears. I’m the only one at home who likes to eat them as fruit. Despite knowing this, I have a tendency to come home from the market with about half a dozen of them during the season! Don’t blame me for not being able to resist them calling out to me from the crates at the market. I always tell myself that I can finish all of them but the truth is that I never get around to it.
I was in the mood to bake a pie or tart of some sort and thought I’d use the pears in it. I had been wanting to bake a pressed crust tart for a while and decided to try that out. I don’t know the origin of this sort of a tart crust but it’s an easier way of making it. Unlike most other tarts or pies where you make the dough, chill it, then roll it out and line the tart tin with it, here you make the dough and then press it into the pan. That’s it as far the crust goes.
You can make this Pressed Crust Tart with a variety of fruit so pick your choice of fruit, pears in my case, and press them down into the crust and bake. As the tart bakes, it will puff up a little around the fruit. My pears were a little firm so I poached them first before baking them into the tart.
Pressed-Crust Pear Tart
- 3 pears (peeled halved and cored)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup almonds finely powdered (almond meal)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 100 gm butter chilled cut into small bits
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon ground
- 1 tbsp sugar to sprinkle
- 1/8 cup apricot jam
- 1 1/2 tsps lime juice
- You need to use pears that are soft textured so they bake well. If theyu2019re hard, poach them till theyu2019re soft but firm. Let them cool. You can poach them with some honey, cinnamon and ginger or spices of your choice for better flavour, and then reduce the poaching liquid to make a sauce to serve with the tart.
- Put the flours, powdered almonds, the baking powder and the sugar in the processor bowl and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Add the chilled butter pieces and run the processor till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the egg, and process to mix it in. and everything comes together away from the sides. Do not over process. The dough will be a bit soft, almost sticky. Turn the dough out onto your counter. Bring it together into a ball.
- Butter a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. Lightly dust your fingers with flour and press the ball of dough into a round shape. Place this in the buttered part pan, and coating your fingers with flour as and when you need to, press the dough out into the pan and up the sides to form an even crust.
- Arrange the 6 pear halves on the crust and press down slightly. Mix together the cinnamon powder and 1 tbsp of sugar and sprinkle evenly over the pears. Bake at 180C (350F) for about 45 to 55 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let the tart cool.
- Just before serving the tart, heat together the apricot jam and lime juice in a small pan and brush this over the tart. Slice and serve as is, or with ice cream or whipped cream.