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Posts Tagged ‘easy fruit tarts’

pear tart abovepear tart slice

 

I panicked the other day when I saw that I had several pears in the fruit bowl, each very ripe or on the verge of turning to brown, mealy mush. I feel badly throwing out food anytime, but particularly when something has gone bad just because I didn’t get around to eating or cooking with it. I quickly used one pear as the base of a smoothie. But what to do with the remaining pears? They wouldn’t last a day longer in the extraordinary heat of the unusually late summer we’re experiencing here in Northern California. And the warm temperatures don’t exactly call for a pear crisp–although fruit crisps are normally one of my favorite things to eat! So I turned once more to the oddly sensible French, and chose to make a pear and almond tart. I love the combination, and what’s more, I love that ripe pears and almonds are naturally very sweet, enabling me to use very little added sugar–less than a third cup in the whole tart!!

Of course, my mother–who was an amazing cook during my childhood, constantly chastises me for cutting too much sugar out of desserts. She must own a sweeter tooth than me, and can immediately tell if I’ve made one of her dishes using only half the sugar called for in the recipe. So when I made this tart, I assumed I would get an earful from her once she tasted it. (And naturally, I had to have her taste it.)

The kids and I finished dinner late, and tucked into the tart–I for one, fully expecting to find it needed more sugar. However, we all loved it as is and promptly had seconds. We jumped in the car to drive a large slice of tart–while the bathtub was filling, to my mother (who conveniently lives quite close).

I didn’t hear the verdict until the next day, but my mother actually called to say she thought the tart was delicious. For added emphasis, she repeated her rendered verdict.

So without further ado, and with the hope you’ll enjoy it just as much as my family…

 

Ingredients

Crust

1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend*

1 heaping tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter

2-3 tbsp ice water

 

Frangipane

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

A pinch of sea salt

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

2/3 cup almond flour (I like Honeyville)

2-3 pears, cored, skin removed, sliced

*I typically use 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour, 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour and 1/4 cup almond flour/meal for my all-purpose gluten-free flour blend.

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour blend, 1 tbsp sugar and salt until blended. Using a pastry cutter, two knives or whatever technique you like, cut in the flour until it’s evenly incorporate. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of ice water and continue mixing, adding a little more water if necessary until there is no more dry flour on the bottom of the bowl, but the mixture should still seem quite dry.

Dump the contents into a 9-inch tart pan and press the crumbly mixture into the bottom and sides of the pan, being careful not to work the dough too much (or it will get tough!). Chill in the fridge until the oven is ready.

Bake crust for 10-12 minutes until crust is golden. Place on a rack to cool.

pear tart mix

 

In the meantime, in a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg, sugar and salt until pale yellow and creamy. Blend in the two extracts. Slowly blend in the almond flour and mix until just blended. Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly on the bottom of the cooled tart crust. Arrange the pear slices on top in whatever design you like.

Reduce oven heat to 375F. Bake the tart for another 25-30 minutes or until the frangipane filling is set.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Dairy-free? You can easily sub coconut oil and/or palm shortening (I love Nutiva’s) for the butter in the crust.

Don’t care about gluten? You can also make the crust using any traditional pastry crust recipe.

Want to make it even richer? Just add 1/4 cup cream to the frangipane mixture.

 

pear tart slice removed

 

Enjoy!
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4th of july pie4th of july pie closeHere in California, we’re at the peak of berry season, and there are deals to be found on berries each week at the grocer’s.

When the prices are really good, I stockpile them and the kids eat huge bowls of berries morning, noon and evening. As a general rule, I don’t believe in eating unlimited amounts of fruit because of the high sugar content, but berries are the exception offering the greatest nutritional punch for the least amount of sugar.

To be very honest, I planned to post this recipe the morning of July 4–Independence Day for Americans (in case you’re not from the U.S. or UK), but one of our cats became very ill and required immediate attention. Cabana (our “old kitty”) has had ailing health for a while, but my husband found her as a kitten on the streets of New York City 17 years ago, and that toughness has kept her going far longer than we expected. Despite having to rush her off to the vet in a nearby town, I still managed to take the kids to the parade and whip up this tart for dinner guests. I just couldn’t manage to post it.

It’s been dubbed the “4th of July tart,” since I make it nearly every July 4, but I also make it throughout the summer, whenever I want something fast, pretty to look at or easy to make in advance. It’s very similar to my luscious strawberry tart, but even easier. Like the strawberry tart, it’s low in sugar–even lower in sugar if you don’t add on the glaze, which I didn’t here. The berries are so sweet right now, they really hold their own, and a glaze would only distract.

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour (I like the texture of the Honeyville brand)

4 tbsp cane sugar, divided (or regular granulated)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled

2-3 tbsp ice cold water

1 container mascarpone cheese (approximately 8 oz)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 cup fresh strawberries

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/3 cup fresh raspberries

Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk flours, salt and 2 tbsp sugar. Combine until there are no lumps from the almond flour. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the dough in in pea-size lumps. Sprinkle in a little of the ice water, and cut in with the pastry cutter. Continue until the dough is still very crumbly but looks like it could hold together. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with fluted edge and removable bottom. Using your fingers, press the dough into the bottom and sides of pan to form your tart crust. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, vanilla, lemon juice and remaining 2 tbsp sugar. Blend thoroughly. Using a rubber spatula, carefully spread the cream mixture on the bottom and just slightly up the sides of the cooled crust. Arrange your berries (you may not need/use all the quantities I listed above) as you wish, and voila, your tart is ready. You can dust it with a little powdered sugar if you like or drizzle a basic glaze over it. (Please see my glaze recipe here.)

Serves 8-10. Takes less than 30 minutes to make.

Cheers to independence wherever you might reside!

 

Non 4th of July version with berries sprinkled around, glazed and dusted.

Non 4th of July version with berries sprinkled around, glazed and dusted.

 

 

 

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