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Thursday, Nov 27th

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Paradise Found

Pear & Almond Tart with Spiced Custard

Yummy, hopelessly moreish, crumbly and creamy at the same time, this tart is beautiful post-dinner, with a cuppa or simply demolished out of the fridge one fine hungry night.

 
Pear & Almond Tart with Spiced Custard

Information

Main Ingredient Pear
Preparation Time 90 minutes
Cooking Time Less than 1 hour
Course Dessert
Recipe Serves 10
Recipe Type Tart
Notes
This is a simply delicious tart filled with pears, almonds and a spiced custard. I fell in love with it the first time I tried it and slowly experimented (I baked it more than one time in quick succession) with adding different flavouring to the custard in the form of Amaretto di Saronno and/ or crushed cardamom seeds, which go delightfully with the pears. I was also the one who added the almonds in the first place, as this started off as an almond-less pear tart.

Remember to choose firm pears when planning to make this tart, as riper pears will ooze their juice on you and result in a rather watery version. Choose the firmest pears possible. There is quite a good variety of pears at any well-stocked supermarket fruit counter, nowadays, which makes it easier to get the right type of pear for this recipe. Also look for flaked almonds which give a much nicer end result.

I use half wholemeal flour and half white flour to make the short crust. I also use sweeteners instead of sugar. Using just 20g of powdered Sweet ‘n Low gave enough sweetness in my opinion (don’t forget the pears which are sweet in themselves). When using Tagatose, I used half the weight of sugar, as recommended.

I have no excuse for using Amaretto di Saronno as a flavouring – it’s full of sugar but I only used a tablespoon, so I hope I’m excused that exception.

The tart can be served warm or cold and the amounts below will make a tart which serves 10. Here goes.
Ingredients
Enough shortcrust pastry to line a 12" loose-based, metal flan case (use half wholemeal flour and half white flour to make the pastry.) 5 - 6 large pears, peeled and sliced length-wise - choose firm pears Juice of one lemon 100g slivered almonds 6 eggs 350 ml double cream (I've used single cream with equally good results) 175g Tagatose (or 20g powdered Sweet 'N Low) 3 tsp vanilla essence OR 1 tbsp Amaretto di Saronno and the seeds of 4 Cardamom pods, crushed.
Method

How:

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.

2. On a lightly floured board, roll out the pastry and, lifting it with your rolling pin, place the pastry over the flan case, to line. Trim edges, prick the pastry base with a fork in several places, and cover with cling film. Place in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.

3. Toss the sliced pears in the lemon juice to avoid discolouration of the fruit. Bring the pastry lined flan case out of the fridge, pat the pears dry with a clean dishcloth and place the pear slices in a circle around the flan case, with the wider end of the pear slices at the edge of the flan case and the narrower end lying in the centre. Cover the bottom of the flan case completely with pears.

4. Sprinkle the slivered almonds over the pears.

5. Now make the custard. Place the cream in a large bowl, and add the eggs. Whisk to mix until eggs are totally incorporated into the cream. Add the Tagatose (or Sweet 'N Low) and the vanilla essence (or Amaretto and crushed cardamom seeds), and whisk again.

6. Gently ladle the custard over the pears and almonds.

7. Place the flan case into the pre-heated oven, preferably lying over a pre-heated, metal baking tray. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, or until the custard is golden and set and the pastry lining is crisp and nicely cooked.

8. Remove from the oven, and serve hot or cold.

9. Enjoy!

Sage writes for www.il-pjazza.com, where www.planetmona.com has its own section



Shopping Tips
Tagatose and Sweet 'n' Low are available from some supermarkets and most chemists.
If you cannot be bothered with making your own short-crust pastry, buy some ready rolled and frozen.
 

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