Saturday, 30 June 2012

Pear and walnut tarts with walnut crumble and some news!

An obsession of both of ours is Masterchef, any global version will do. You either love it or hate it and for us 'lovers' it divides us on Twitter, takes over our dinner table conversation and keeps us coming back for more. Over the years, I've been green with envy watching the Australian contestants meet and cook for or with the likes of Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Tetsuya, Shannon Bennett, Christine Manfield, Rick Stein, Donna Hay.....and the list goes on. Even the judges themselves imparting their knowledge would be enough for me (George, Matt, Gary - feel free to come round to my place for dinner - you're cooking by the way).

Anyway, the current Australian series has had some awesome Masterclass Fridays so far. Gary Mehigan (one of the judges) recently made an amazing fig and pistachio frangipane tart with a pistachio crumble. I immediately started thinking of all the possible flavour combinations that would work with this recipe concept. I started texting M and of course she came back with chocolate stuff but having just made pear puree for my little man, pears were on my brain. Pears of course do lend themselves to chocolate (one day M!), but they also go beautifully with nuts.

For this recipe, I used Gary's as a base (his original one is here). We didn't make a nut paste for the frangipane but instead just added some additional ground walnuts to the mixture. We also added cinnamon everywhere we could because I'm a bit of a cinnamon freak and the pear and walnut combo needed a spicy hit somewhere.

Though I am loathe to write OMG in any form of text......OMG! This is so yummy! Okay so the flavour combo was a winner (even if I do say so), but mainly the concept of a fruit frangipane tart with the addition of a nut crumble is delicious. It's hard to stop eating it and would go so well served warm with a dollop of thick double cream.

AND in some exciting news, Maude and Betty is featured in this month's GRAM Magazine (Brisbane edition - Issue 4). For those of you in Melbourne and Brisbane who haven't yet discovered Gram - get on board now. Available here online and the full hard copy version in heaps of our favourite and yummiest places around town, Gram is a free street magazine about the food and drink stories of these two cities as told by local food bloggers.

Pear and walnut tarts

Sweet shortcrust pastry (yes, c'mon do make your own - so worth it!)
  • 120g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 30g icing sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1egg, plus 1 yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Walnut crumble
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 40g plain flour
  • 30g chilled butter, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Frangipane filling
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon almond liquer (or essence)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 120g ground almonds
  • 40g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground walnuts
  • 6 fresh pears, cored and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup honey, warmed, to glaze
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, added to honey for the glaze
For the Pastry:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.

2. For pastry, place butter, sugar and salt into a food processor and process until creamy. Add flour and cinnamon and process until coarse breadcrumbs. Add egg and yolk and process for 10 seconds or until the dough comes together to form a ball.

3. Tip pastry onto a lightly floured bench and bring together with hands. Flatten gently into a flat rectangular shape and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to rest.

4. Roll rested dough to 3mm thick and wrap loosely around a rolling pin. Gently roll over a 35cm x 7cm rectangular fluted tart tin with a removable base and press pastry into tin, moulding pastry up the sides of the tin with your fingertips, fill in any cracks with excess dough. Remove any excess pastry with your thumb by pressing down along the edges of the tin. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Note: we ended up using 6 x 11cm round fluted tart tins - but use whatever you like being careful you have enough pastry).

5. Place a sheet of baking paper into the chilled pastry in the tart tin, half-fill with baking beads or rice and bake for 12-15 minutes until edges are light golden. Remove weights and baking paper and bake for 5-10 minutes or until base is dry. Set aside.

For the Walnut Crumble:

6. For the walnut crumble, place walnuts in the chopper attachment of a stick blender and process to a meal. Add sugar, flour and cinnamon and process to combine, transfer to a bowl. Rub in butter with your fingers, leaving some small lumps of butter.

7. Line a baking tray with baking paper, tip crumble over tray and spread evenly. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until just golden. Set aside to cool.

For the Franipane Filling:

9. For frangipane filling, whisk butter and sugar in an electric mixer until creamy. With the motor running, add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, continuing to mix after each addition. Add almond liqueur, lemon zest, ground almonds, flour and ground walnuts and whisk until combined.

10. Spoon almond mixture into tart shell until ¾ full. (Left over frangipane can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week). Gently press in pear slices, placing them at regular intervals along the tart or fanning them out as you prefer. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

11. Remove tart from oven, brush with warm honey and cinnamon mixture and leave to cool. Sprinkle the crumble generously over the tart and serve with double cream on the side.

So delicious! Enjoy with a cup of tea and Issue 4 of GRAM magazine!!!

B xx

1 comment: