As I have mentioned before I was given Paul Hollywood’s cook book for Christmas and I have made several of his delicious recipes. The following (naturally adapted) is I think going to become a firm favourite.
I tend to buy those large bags of Conference pears from Mercadona, often if you try to eat them they are like turnips, hard and dry. I peel, sprinkle with a little sugar then pop straight into the freezer. That way I always have something to make either a pear and ginger crumble or top with a dollop of ice-cream.
Now the image below is Paul’s Tart. My tart as you will see at the end of the blog is quite a bit lighter, due to the lack of black treacle – but it tasted super. I used half of the ingredients as there are only the two of us (although those listed are what he recommends). I left out the treacle as I didn’t have any and of course I used ready-made pastry.
For the sweet shortcrust pastry
200g plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
100g butter, chilled, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp lemon juice
For the filling
200g dates, stones removed, roughly chopped (you can buy these already stoned in Mercadona)
150ml full-fat milk
3 ripe medium pears, peeled, quartered and cored
50g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g ground almonds
2 large free-range eggs
100g light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp treacle
100g shelled cobnuts or hazelnuts, roughly chopped
For the toffee sauce
200g light muscovado sugar
250ml double salve
Everyone knows how to make pastry so be it enough to say let defrost and line tin!
For the filling, put the chopped dates and milk in a pan. Bring to the boil, and then set aside for 30 minutes to soak. For the toffee sauce, heat the sugar, butter and cream together in a pan over a low heat until melted and smooth, then bring to a simmer and let it bubble for five minutes to thicken. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180C and put a baking tray on the middle shelf to warm up.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and use it to line the tart tin. Prick the base with a fork. Slice each quarter of pear in two. Arrange in a circular fan pattern in the tart case. Drizzle over four tablespoons of the toffee sauce and put the tart in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the filling.
For the filling, mash the date mixture to a coarse purée with a potato masher. Tip it into a bowl with the softened butter, vanilla, flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground almonds, eggs, sugar and treacle. Whisk together with an electric whisk until just combined. Stir in the chopped nuts.
Spoon the mixture over the pears in the pastry case, spreading it out evenly.
Serve the tart warm, with clotted cream or ice cream and the rest of the toffee sauce. I would challenge even those with the sweetest tooth not to be totally satisfied with this yummy tart. Try it I bet you agree. 🙂
As I said I used half the quantities for the tart but the whole amount for the toffee sauce as it is good on ice cream and keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.