This post is dedicated to my Auntie Julie, my number one fan.
How do I start this post? Crikey. It’s been over a month since my last post, I wish to add that this is not because I’m a fair-weather blogger, I haven’t been in the position to make yummy food due to a broken oven situation or have access to the internet for this amount of time, and I have missed this place. It feels good to be back! So where do I start?
There is way too much to say to fit into this entry alone without boring your head off so I will continue into future posts. I have now moved into a new place, far from the student accommodation I was in a month ago (I’m a grown up now!) and I adore it. Things are going well and I’m appreciating the immense amount of natural light I am getting here. It’s good for Photography and my mood, and to add to it all, we have our very own cast iron fireplace, where Christmas stockings are just begging to be hung. It’s the simple things.
I’m feeling a little apprehensive about writing this post, it feels like I’m catching up with a friend that has been absent from my life for a while, so not really sure how to structure the conversation and to not make it sound like it’s all me me me! So how have you all been doing? It’s been awesome going through all the new posts you have been making and it was the main thing I couldn’t wait to get back to. I was in France for a couple of weeks with my family with the much needed sun that we Brits have needed this “Summer”. It was great to have the time to do nothing but read, eat (Oh my gosh the eating) with the frequent glass of wine and beer, but more about that in my next post. We came back to quite a dull England, rainy, which I was grateful for and returned to the routine of work and early-ish wake up calls. The rain has brought out my Autumnal side and I’m already looking forward to the next season. This includes comfort food such as a sweet potato cottage pie and onto my next experiment, Pear and Almond Tart.
I got this recipe from Joanna Weinberg’s, “How to feed your friends with relish,” book that I adore flicking through. This recipe was created from the River Cafe where they provide seasonal tarts (Oh my!) I’m trying to face my fear with desserts of which I have mentioned in previous posts, and now I have a much more organised kitchen with the right equipment, I’m finding it less scary. I love making pastry anyway, so that’s no big deal. However, blind baking is starting to become an issue, and it totally shouldn’t be. Is it because I’m a scaredy cat and am afraid that my buttery pastry will be burned after the first baking process?? Does anyone have this problem? Or am I making a big deal out of nothing? The recipe was easy to follow, and I did everything precisely with a little intuition thrown in. Admittedly, it didn’t turn out quite like I was expecting, the base was a little soggy and the filling wasn’t as light as I had hoped. I had to have more than one or two slithers to make sure of this. Naturally. It’s tasty, perfect with some Crème fraiche and I think it’s better cold. But if any of you have any suggestions about blind baking, please let me know.
So here we go!
Ingredients for the pastry
175g plain flour with enough for dusting
50g icing sugar
pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter
2 free range egg yolks
Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt in a bowl, then rub in the butter, this takes a while if you’re doing it by hand, but keep going until you end up with fine breadcrumbs. Now add the egg yolks, mix together until the pastry comes together, a little water, about a tablespoon to make it a little easier. Cover with Clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. When you are ready to bake the tart, unwrap and on a floured surface, roll out as thin as you can. Hook the pastry onto the rolling pin and gently place into the tart case. Using your fingers, help it fall and secure it into place around the edges. You can use your rolling pin to cut off the excess pastry around the edges and create a neat edge. Preheat the oven to 180/gas 4.
Prick the base with a fork, line with parchment and fill with baking beads to blind bake for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have baking beads, you can use coins as they are also heavy and conduct heat very well. Bake and then remove the parchment and back for a further 10 minutes. Return from the oven and turn the temperature down to 150/gas 2.
For the filling
175g blanched almonds
175g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
2 free range eggs
7 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced.
Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy, add the almonds, then the eggs, one by one. When you have a smooth mixture, lay the pears face down on the pastry, I managed to get about five full ones laid out until I thought it was getting a little overcrowded, but do try to use all of them, I think this might of made a difference. Then pour over the almond mixture and smooth out the surface. Bake in the oven for 1 hour approx, the surface should be a dark golden brown when ready.
Serve with Crème Fraiche or Vanilla Icecream.
I would love if any of you could try this recipe out and get back to me! Thanks!