Pear crumble tarts

4 July 2011
by Phuoc

I like being able to have a dessert from a patisserie and think to myself that I can either recreate or put my own spin to it at home. Not too long ago I was at Black Star Pastry and I decided to treat myself as it’s conveniently located near my uni. On this particular day, apart from being tempted by all the other delicious baked goods on offer, a strawberry crumble tart and a coconut & passionfruit macaron caught my eye. The macaron was delish! Soft and chewy, topped with roasted coconut and filled with a sweet and tangy passionfruit curd. I’ve attempted macarons a few times and haven’t had that many successes yet. Nowadays I don’t find myself wanting to make them because it seems like I always have to be on edge as they may or may not work. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage but for now I’ll rather bake something that I know will work 100%.

So here comes the tart. I had thought of taking advantage of the seasonal fruits that are available now and decided to recreate this crumble tart using pears instead of strawberries (I recently saw a punnet of strawberries for about $5! Rip off!) I’d imagine you could use any other fruit available for example apples, rhubarb, frozen blueberries/raspberries, plums etc As long as you can puree it, it will work.

I know some people may be intimidated by pastry, there’s always the problem of having the pastry shrinking when baked. I think the most vital trick is to handle the dough as minimal as possible. Once the dough appears to be coming together, it only takes is a few kneads with the palm of your hand until you get a smooth dough. Also, do not add excess flour to the dough when you are kneading it. I know you might think “but the dough is still sticky I need to add flour“, I also thought and would’ve done the same, but trust me, once you chill the dough it would no longer be sticky anymore. What I found extremely helpful is a dough scraper to scrap the dough off the surface for it to be wrapped in cling wrap and chilled.

Recently I picked up a very handy tip from Rita who picked it up from a Brasserie Baking class she did. Basically, when making small tarts roll the dough into a log prior to chilling (I did this by blobbing the dough in a line on the cling wrap, wrapping the dough up and then shaping it into a log) to ensure that the dough remains in a round shape when you roll it out and to make for easy portioning. When I did a pastry class with Ngaire sometime last year, she made me a little flour duster thing out of chux (there’s picture of it in the second picture) to make sure that I avoid heavily flouring my surface. I’ve bought myself ceramic pie weights but you can simply use dried beans or rice to blind bake your pastry but keep in mind that these can be stored in a container to be used time after time – just make sure you clearly label the container as “beans/rice for blind baking“.

I am quite happy with how it turned out. The tart shell was buttery and crumbly, the pear filling was luscious, jammy and packed with a cinnamon and vanilla aroma and the crumble topping was deliciously morish. I had intended to share some with Ant one night but he ended up polishing most of it off. It was quite funny seeing him eat this tart; it was like he was a little kid not wanting to share his toys with the other kids, clutching it close to him so no one could get a hold of it.

Trust me to leave things to the last minute (such a typical uni student I am)… But this is my submission for the Lurpak Challenge. To vote for my recipe, click here. Voting ends on the 10th of July 2011 at 11:59PM AEST and you can vote once everyday until the deadline. Thanks guys!

Recipe

Original recipe by Phuoc

Makes 8 small tarts

 

Tart shell (Pate sucree)

1 cup (125g) plain flour

50g icing sugar

pinch of salt

50g unsalted butter, softened and cubed

1 egg, room temperature

Poached pear puree

3 medium pears

1 cup (250mL) water

1/2 cup (125g) caster sugar

1/2 vanilla pod, seeded

2 tsp cinnamon powder

Crumble mixture

1/4 cup (62g) flour

1/3 cup (83g) caster sugar

75g unsalted butter, softened and cubed

1/4 cup (20g) rolled oats

1/4 cup (22g) dessicated coconut

 

For the tart shells

  1. Sift the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl and add salt.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until breadcrumbs form.
  3. Pour mixture out onto a clean and lightly floured surface and make a well in the centre.
  4. Crack the egg into the middle of the well and mix into the flour mixture until it begins to hold together.
  5. Knead the dough a few times with your palm until just incorporated and smooth. Avoid over working it.
  6. Wrap up dough with cling wrap, shaping it into a log, and then refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180C (360F).
  8. Cut the log into 8 segments and roll each disk, on a lightly floured surface, to a thickness of 2-3mm.
  9. Cut the dough with a 10cm circle cutter and line tart tins with the dough. Prick the tart base with a fork and chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
  10. Line the tart with baking paper or foil, fill with ceramic pie weights, dried beans or rice and blind-bake for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the paper/foil and weights and bake for a further 5 minutes.
  12. Set tart shells aside until required.

For the poached pear puree

  1. Peel, core and cut pears into chunks.
  2. Heat water, sugar, vanilla seeds and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add pears to the syrup and poach for 30 minutes until soft.
  4. Blend the pears with a little of the poaching liquid with a food processor/blender until smooth.
  5. Set puree aside until required.

For the crumble

  1. Combine the flour and caster sugar in a bowl.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until breadcrumbs form.
  3. Mix in the rolled oats and coconut.
  4. Set aside until required.

Assembly

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (360F).
  2. Spread a heaped tablespoonful of the pear puree into the shell.
  3. Spoon the crumble mixture evenly over the entire surface.
  4. Bake the tarts for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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33 Comments

  1. Steph

    They look fantastic! The poached pear filling sounds lovely. And that chux flour duster thing is GENIUS! Totally going to try that

  2. Paula

    What a perfect winter treat! Good luck with the challenge, Phuoc!!

  3. john@heneedsfood

    You gotta love Black Star! And that tart, all I’d need is a good dollop of double cream and a strong coffee. Mmm … crumbly!

  4. mademoiselle délicieuse

    Chux duster! Such a good idea especially for people like me who don’t “sprinkle” flour very evenly, ahem =p And good to see the pastry log in action!

  5. Jenny

    Mmmmm yum, I’ve been in the mood for baking tarts, And I agree, before the first time I made short crust pastry, I felt so intimidated but it is so worth it!!

  6. joey@FoodiePop

    Oooo, I love a good tart!

  7. nic@diningwithastud

    These look awesome! Great tips on pastry too. I use to be scared of it until I actually tried a few times. It use to be my nemesis lol

  8. Jacq

    ooh so many tips in this post – chux duster and rolling the pastry out into a log! love the photos!

  9. Adrian (Food Rehab)

    I know what you mean about strawberries- such a rip off right now! Totally diggin the look of this. The crumble looks like delicious caramel popcorn pieces! YUUURM!

  10. FFichiban

    Mmmmm these tarts look amazing! I love crumble, especially this in cold… with a generous scoop of ice cream ^^!

  11. Phuoc

    Steph: Thanks! It is a really good idea, I keep mine in the flour jar when I’m not using it.

    Paula: Thanks! :)

    John: Yes, I love/hate how it’s so close to uni. I can hope off at Newtown station and make my way over to Black Star Pastry, grab a coffee to kick start the day and then a treat for the afternoon. Ah the life!

    Mademoiselle délicieuse: Hehe don’t worry… I didn’t before I got it, not my surfaces are lightly and evenly dusted :) The dough log is such an ingenious idea! Can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier!

    Jenny: It’s good to get over your fears and be rewarded with something tasty in the end.. I hope you get to make them tarts soon :)

    Joey: Nothing beats a good flakey/crumbly/buttery pastry I’d say!

    Nic: Thank you, I thought I’d share the tips with everyone to show you that making pastry is not that hard.. I hope you are a pro now :)

    Jacq: Thanks! I hope they will become of good use :)

    Adrian: Thanks! My dad bought 2 punnets the other day and I thought he was going mad!

    FFichiban: Thanks :) Ice cream makes everything better!

  12. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    These look fantastic! Ahh yes Black Star, so much lust in one space :D

  13. Miss Piggy

    Your top & bottom photo look really good – nice styling! Good to know our little G11 can take such lovely shots. The tart looks pretty good too…yum yum!

  14. Anh

    Lovely tartlets! :) I perhaps will use apple instead of pear… Just because…. ;)

  15. Phuoc

    Lorraine: Thank you! Oh yes… I think I might have to pop in again this week.. On the way to uni..

    Miss Piggy: Thanks, I am quiet proud, they’re nothing extravagant like others but I’m trying to keep it cheap and simple (props are $$ and I’m just a poor uni student afterall)

    Anh: lol “Just because..” Sure! That would also be nice, apples and cinnamon rocks but I guess you can also add other spices eg nutmeg, cloves etc if you want :)

  16. Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi

    You had me at crumble! I love a good, warm crumble dessert (I’d probably go with apple too – but pears are pretty cheap at the moment) with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream during winter. Cinnamon always adds warmth when I’m cold – I even shake a bit of cinnamon sugar over my oats (I’m obsessed!). Good luck!

  17. Helen (grabyourfork)

    I like the log tip. Homemade pastry is always such a treat and I like that you used seasonality to determine your filling. Always a good bet for guaranteed deliciousness!

  18. Sara @ Belly Rumbles

    Fingers crossed for you in the Lurpak Challenge. Your tarts look so great. I am a sucker for crumble.

  19. Phuoc

    Keely: Oh yeah… Warm crumble and a scoop of vanilla ice cream is the best thing you could possibly have on a cold winter night in :)

    Helen: Thanks! Seasonality definitely guarantees deliciousness and also calls for cheaper produce so it’s a win-win situation

    Sara: Thanks! I have everything crossed too.. C’mon Zumbo, pick me pick me!! :)

  20. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Oh that log trick is going to really come in handy, very clever. Your pies are picture perfect, definitely what you would expect from a good patisserie.

  21. Martyna (Wholesome Cook)

    These look great, I’m loving pears at the moment – and great for mixing up in crumbles. Great idea of making them into little tarts!

  22. Phuoc

    Sylvie: Awww thanks! That’s very sweet of you to say that :)

    Martyna: Me too, they are just so cheap at the moment and go perfect with everything; cakes, crumbles, slices, tarts…

  23. veggie mama

    I’m terrified of macarons! I live in such a humid place. I’m going to make them one day, truly I am! Meanwhile, I used one of my voting days to vote for these… they look so delicious! I’m sure we can both make it to the next round :)

  24. Phuoc

    Veggie mama: Macarons are such tedious things aren’t they? Good luck to us both! Thank for you voting for me, good luck to you too :)

  25. laura @ hip pressure cooking

    Hmmm… looks so delicious and the photos are absolutely inspiring!

    Ciao!

    L

  26. Phuoc

    Laura: Grazie! :)

  27. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets

    I love anything with streusel on it — these tarts look delish!

  28. Susan

    That looks delicious! I love crumble tarts, so many different textures.

  29. Phuoc

    Xiaolu: Thank you!

    Susan: Thank you! That’s the reason why I like these tarts, loved how the crumble offsets the luscious and jammy pear filling. YUM :)

  30. Bex

    My Poppa gave me some pears today – can I make your cake and maybe blog it??? But only if you say YES…Otherwise I will still make and I will just share it with you….
    <3 Bex

  31. Phuoc

    Bex: Sure! Let me know how you go, I’d love to see how you went. Good luck! :)

  32. Maria Tsoli

    If you make this again I will bring you freshly made vanilla ice cream

  33. Phuoc

    Maria: Although I’ve made this 3 times already, I’ll be willing to make it again for you in exchange for homemade ice cream! YUM!

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