Saturday, June 7, 2014

Spiced Pear and Almond Tart

Poached Pears 

500ml (2 cups) dry red wine
70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
2 whole star anise
2 x 7cm cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split
4 just-ripe pears, peeled

Combine the wine, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add the pears and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, turning occasionally, for 1 hour or until pears are tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pears to a heatproof bowl.  

Gluten-Free Shortcrust Pastry
125ml sour cream
250g gluten free plain flour, and extra for dusting. 
200g unsalted butter, chilled
2g xanthan gum
2 free range egg yolks

*For a sweet recipe add 1/3rd a cup of caster sugar, for savoury add a teaspoon of salt.

To make the pastry, dice the butter, then rub into the flour and xanthan gum until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and egg yolks and continue to knead until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Dust a flat surface with the extra flour and roll the chilled pastry out until 3 mm thick and place into a pie tin or tart pan. Pearce with a fork and place a sheet of baking paper on the pastry, fill with beans or pie weight and blind bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

Almond Frangipane
240g unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup spiced rum or brandy
40g gluten free flour
400g almond meal

To make the frangipane, place the butter and caster sugar in to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and creamy – approximately 6 minutes. Then add the eggs, one at a time, then the brandy. Mix for a further 1 minute and then add the flour and the almond meal, mix until well combined. Put the almond frangipane into a container and set aside until ready to use.  

Pour frangipane into the tart shell and smooth. Press pear halves into the pastry. Bake at 170c for 35 - 40 minutes. Allow to cool and serve at room temperature. 

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