Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Waiter! There's some pears in my topless tart!

Pear Bourdaloue in pan

Have I told you how much I miss my kitchen back home? If I haven't,


I miss my kitchen full of gadgets. My favourite measuring cups, my favourite measuring spoons, my new electronic scales which measures liquid and dry ingredients with a single touch of a finger, my "on its last legs" Kambrook food processor, Alv's mum's Sunbeam mixmaster (which she has never used), all my baking tins and even the not so favourite temperamental gas oven.

What's that I hear you say?

"Chill out dude, it's not like they're irreplaceable?!"

Well, I know they're not irreplaceable. In fact, I did consider bringing some of my "I can't live without you" gadgets with me to keep me company. But I have sooo many of them, I didn't know where to begin and then there was also luggage space to consider. I mean's not like it's forever...??

Sigh, I know I'm being really silly. But it's just that, I miss turning around knowing that I could just grab my Nuscup measuring cups stuck on the freezer door, rummaging through the utensil drawer for my favourite spatula and making tart pastry the quick and easy way. *sulk*

Now that I think about it, I can't believe how much kitchen gadgets I've accumulated since I moved out from home 5 years ago. (And this is from someone who has never cooked anything beyond instant noodles back when living at home with the parents!) They've all become a part of my kitchen routine - measuring spoons and pastry brush on the first drawer, Nuscup on the freezer door, the good spatula in the third drawer by the kitchen stove. I can almost recite the location of every piece of equipment that I have - except when it's been misplaced by someone...

Anyway, thank you for putting up with my kitchen rantings. With that out of the way, let us get down to some serious food talking. :)

Pear Bourdaloue

So, HOW on earth did I make that tart pictured above if I haven't got my tart pans and my precious food processor?? Hehehe.. The real question should be WHEN?! I actually made this 7 weeks ago in the midst of the final weeks panic in Melbourne. What a surprise it was to find that Jeanne has actually picked "tarts" to be the theme for the monthly "Waiter! There's something in my.. " event. I for one am thankful, because it means that I can join in the fun!

The above tart is the Pear Bourdaloue from The Cook's Book. It's one of the few recipes that I tagged when I first bought the book all those moons ago. When we made the decision to relocate to London, I made a list of recipes that I had to try before I left and this was at the top of the list. So I made sure I cleared my schedule for one of the weekends before I left, just so I can make this. :)

When I first saw the original recipe in the book it was made using pear halves in a 22cm round pan. For some reason, whenever I think of this particular recipe, the image morphs into the shape of a rectangular sized tart and it is topped with pear slices instead of pear halves. Since pears aren't exactly at the top of my favourite fruits list, I decided to take the suggestion as a sign and went ahead and made it the way it appeared in my head.

The recipe below is for the original tart of 22cm round pan. So if you're thinking of trying a different sized pan, you might find that you'll end up with some extra pastry and pear slices at hand. (Sorry, it's been a while since I made it and I can't quite remember the exact measure of ingredients left to give you a guide to my rectangular sized tart.)

The only other change I made to the recipe was to use the remainder of my cloudberry jam as the glaze instead of apricot jam.

A slice of pear bourdaloue

Pear Tart Bourdaloue
adapted from this book.

Original recipe makes a 22cm tart

Pre-preparation required for:-
1. Pears
2. Pâte Brisée or your favourite shortcrust pastry recipe

1.1kg firm, ripe pear
6 tbsp lemon juice
1 litre water
1/2 vanilla pod, halved and grated
300g quantity of Pâte Brisée
280g quantity of Almond cream
1/2 pot of Apricot/Quince jam (I used cloudberry jam)

Day 1: Pre-preparing the pears
  1. Peel pears and remove cores.
  2. Place the pears in a non-metallic bowl and coat them with 3 tbsp of lemon juice.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring to boil 1 litre water, 3 tbsp lemon juice and vanilla.
  4. Add in pears and place a cartouche on top.
  5. Simmer for 10 - 15mins.
  6. Cover and let cool/infuse over night.

Day 2: Pâte Brisée & Almond Cream
  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  2. Roll out pastry 3mm thick and line pan.
  3. Spread almond cream evenly onto the tart shell and place strained pears* on top.
  4. Bake tart for 30mins.
  5. Allow tart to cool to lukewarm and the remove from tart pan and let cool on rack.
  6. Before serving, warm jam in a pan or microwave and brush surface of tart with melted jam.
*I sliced my pears before placing them on top of the almond cream

Pâte Brisée
Makes 1 kg of pastry

375g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 scant tsp salt
1 egg yolk
2 scant tsp caster sugar
100ml full-fat milk, (at room temperature)
500g plain flour, sifted.
plus extra for dusting.

Using a food processor:
  1. Place butter, salt, egg yolk, sugar and milk into the food processor and process until the mixture becomes a smooth and cream like.
  2. Add the sifted flour into the mixture.
  3. Pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.
  4. Stop pulsing as soon as the pastry has formed a ball.
  5. Remove the mixture from the processor and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Almond Cream
makes 800g

135g butter
165g icing sugar
10g cornflour
165g ground almonds
2 eggs
1 tbsp dark rum (I used cognac)
200ml creme fraiche
  1. Cut butter into pieces and place in a bowl.
  2. Cream butter with with spatula to soften.
  3. Combine icing sugar, corn flour, almond in a bowl and sift into butter mixture and mix well
  4. Add the eggs into the mixture one at a time, ensuring that the first egg is well mixed before adding in the remaining egg.
  5. Add in the rum and creme fraiche and combine until smooth.
  6. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate. If not using within 36 - 48hrs freeze until required.
My verdict:

The recipe is a tiny bit complicated but it's do-able with good time management. The strangest thing was that this recipe did not require the tart shell to be blind baked. I was very intrigued by this as I have never made/eaten tarts that have never been blind baked. In fact the main reason tarts appeal to me is because of the crispy tart shell!

The pears were soft from poaching but it wasn't mushy after being baked which was good. Taste wise it had a hint of vanilla but other than that the pear taste remains and the cloudberry jam glaze didn't really over power the taste of the pear.

The pastry itself wasn't as crispy as your blind baked tarts, but as you can see from the photos the top was still quite crumbly and because it wasn't blind baked, the almond cream and the pastry sort of melted together (as it cooked in the oven) and so the first bite was as though the pastry and almond cream was the one layer.

I had a cold slice of the tart but I reckon if you actually warm it up a little before serving, it might just melt in your mouth!

Has this tart changed my perception of tarts with non-blind baked shells?

You bet!

Zig zagged Pear tart slices


Manggy said...

I've never not blind-baked a tart either, but I do love a softer crust. Maybe someday I won't be afraid to; after all your tart looks smashing!

Dhanggit said...

its been a long time i havent had my pear tart..this must be it! i love the way you made this pear tart.i normally make mine rounded..this rectangular version gave that chic touch..on your kitchen rantings dont worry i understand you perfectly..i felt the same way when i have to give away all my kitchen gadgets when i moved out from japan to france. i was so used to working with them but my husband insisted that we can always buy new was with a broken heart that i parted ways with them..

Jeanne said...

I've just recently been pondering ways to use pears while they're in season - this looks glorious. I also made my first non-blind-baked pie shell for my own WTSIM entry - not sure if I'm 100% sold on it yet. Maybe I just haven't met the right tart :)

These pictures are too gorgeous...

And I totally hear you on the "I miss my stuff" rant. I own kitchen utensils that I have now not seen in over 5 years - sulk!

Patricia Scarpin said...

It looks so beautiful!
I love pears and don't bake with them enough.
Love how you cut the tart, that photo almost made me drool - lucky me my boss is away. :)

ilingc said...

manggy: Thank you. I guess it's a matter of taste. I love the crispy crust and have always over baked my tart bases to get the crispy edge. But this pear tart has certainly given something to think about with softer tart bases. :)

dhanggit: I usually go the round tart way too. If anything I'm guilty of not using my rectangular tin enough because I've only used it once since I purchased the it last year!

You had to give ALL your kitchen gadgets away?! That is so sad! I would've been in tears if I had to do that.

Jeanne: Hi Jeanne. Apparently there's a recipe out there for chocolate and pear tart! My friend has been bugging me to make one for her. I'll have to find a good recipe one of these days and try it.

Omg, you have kitchen utensils that you've not seen for 5 years? Oh my, if I were you, I'd be bringing some over every time I go home or better yet, bribe some for some suitcase space every time someone comes over to London! ;)

Patricia: Ahh Patricia, Can I offer you a tissue? :D

Thank you for the lovely comment on the photo. :)

The only bad thing about a rectangular sized tart is that you can only feed 6 generously. I had to push the friendship boundaries a little bit when I cut up this tart.

I think I ended up getting 7 slices out of this and someone of the guys ended up having to share :(

Megan said...

Now that is just beautiful!

Hungry Hamster said...

I don't like fresh pears, I preferred them cooked! Your 'cooked' pear tart looks yummilicious!!

You really do take beautiful pictures!

Anna said...

Oh WOW, that looks fantastic. Although I can hear my brother's voice in my head saying "I love a topless tart"...

But back to the food. I'm having a dinner tomorrow evening at my place, maybe this would be nice to finish it off.

Anh said...

wonderful tart! I have a rectangular tart pan, too but never use it. You urge me to take it out and try! :D

Dhanggit said...

yup i parted ways with all my kitchen gadget..;we were moving out from tokyo to live in cote d'azur...

K & S said...

this looks wonderful!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Hi I-Ling, Don't you love when you have something already made for an event? Your blog is absolutely delicious; I'm so glad I found you at the round-up! -Susan

ilingc said...

Megan: Thank you :)

HH: You should have fresh pears in a chocolate fondue! They're delicious! :)

Anna: LOL What is it about boys and topless tarts? My boyfriend said the same thing.

Anh: Thanks Anh. I can't wait to see what you come up with your rectangular tart :)

Dhanggit: The French Riviera.. ah... I'm so jealous!

Kat: Thanks Kat. :)

Susan: Hi Susan. I do I do. Love the coincidence in the theme and it actually made me really excited :)

SteamyKitchen said...

that is a beautiful dramatic photo!!

you should be a finalist for the photog award!

Carolyn said...

Amazing dessert! But did you know that bourdaloue in French is the name for a woman's urinal?