lisa’s pear and frangipane tart

Pears – what a perfect theme for winter here in Sydney. Ripe and in season, they are plentiful and cheap to buy. Often underestimated, I think they go perfectly with the flavour of almonds, and that is how my pear and frangipane tart came about.

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I am the first to admit that tarts are not my thing. I love baking, I love desserts and sweet things, yet when it comes to tarts, I’m still yet to master the art of pastry and pastry shells. I think my problem in the past was that I tried to roll out the pastry too thin. Too often you hear judges on cooking competition shows that the pastry is too thick, undercooked, not flaky enough, etc. I was inspired by a Masterchef “masterclass” where they brought on a true pastry chef and he made his pastry and rolled it out into his tin so easily. I thought don’t be afraid, you can do that! Practice makes perfect, so here I go!

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When making your pastry, so many things will come into play – your ingredients and their ratios of course, but with the weather being so cold at the moment, it really plays a part to how it will come together, and the texture. You really have to feel and adjust to your environment. So in my recipe, I recommend adding in the “wet” ingredients a little at a time, and testing the result as you go. You don’t want to end up with a pastry that’s too wet or too dry. Dive in, get your hands dirty, and you’ll feel when your pastry is ready. Don’t over-knead. All you need to do is bring everything together.

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Don’t have baking weights? No problem. I keep a box of rice that is used specifically for blind baking tart shells. It works just as well, and you can re-use over and over.

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Next tip – don’t cover the entire tart with the pears. Too much liquid will come out, and the frangipane will take too long to bake. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience! You may not need all the pears that you slice. Pop them into your mouth! You’ll need a snack while you’re waiting for the tart to bake. 

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Ready to take it on? Here’s the recipe. It’s really not too difficult, and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Top with some good quality vanilla ice cream for an extra indulgence. Enjoy!

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jasmine’s pear and ginger cake

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The theme this month is along the lines of what I love to make and to eat! I like using fruit and vegetable in my baking because I can trick myself into thinking that it is somewhat healthy :)  I also find that desserts with fruit or vegetable require less sugar and butter/milk … so that HAS to be somewhat healthier?

The recipe I tried this month is the ‘Pear and Ginger Cake’ recipe from a 2012 Donna Hay magazine. The recipe had caught my eye when I first saw it and I had clipped it into my ‘recipes to try folder’.

The recipe does not require many ingredients and is easy to prepare. The most time-consuming component of the recipe is the preparation of the pears, but that did not take long at all.

I brought the cake to a bbq that Kerri hosted :) It was SO nice to catch up with Kerri and to share our BSS treats :) I can vouch for the treat that Kerri put together. It was absolutely delicious!

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The pear and ginger cake is similar to a teacake and is great with thickened whip cream or for a more indulgent treat – a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

kerri’s pear, hazelnut and dark chocolate ‘tart’

One of the things B and I were excited to come back to Sydney for was a barbecue. And what better time (in winter) to have one than on a public holiday! Thanks to the Queen’s birthday, we held a BBQ with a bunch of our Sydney friends, including Jasmine and her family! We both took the opportunity to make our pear desserts, as there were many mouths to share in the eating!

My creation this month is quite a versatile one – it suits all shapes and sizes of pans. So I didn’t really know what to call it – depending on the pan you cook it in, it could be a tart, a slice, or a cake!

As you know, I’m limited in my choice of bakeware while here in Sydney and need to choose recipes accordingly. So I combined two super easy recipes and thankfully, it all worked out! The flourless dark chocolate base is from this Martha Stewart recipe, with a couple of changes to make it easier for those without a food processor. I then took the pears and hazelnut filling from an Eric Lanlard recipe to finish it off.

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Even though there are three components to this creation, each is really simple and quite quick. The end result is moist and light, and perfect with a dollop of whipped cream.

pear, hazelnut and dark chocolate tartYou can find the recipe here.

june: pear

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The humble pear.

An often under-estimated fruit, we’ll show you just how exciting, comforting, delicious and luxurious it can be.

Join us this month for our pear-fest!

*image credit: www.stockfreeimages.com