To give you some idea of just how ridiculously easy it is to make this lovely summer tart, I prepared it with a two month old baby strapped to my chest! This is the kind of recipe that you can just sling together within a […]
Quick, delicious and impressive. Are there three better words to describe a dessert recipe? I don’t think there are. This recipe is so easy, you don’t even really have to weigh anything (doesn’t that sound good?).
Buttery, crispy, flaky pastry wrapped around a filling of sweet pear, rich chocolate and warming ginger – this is just delicious at this time of year. And it really is so quick to make, it’s a perfect last-minute pudding but it look fancy enough to show off to your dinner guests. I really can’t recommend this recipe enough!
You can use dark or milk chocolate for this – I prefer dark though.
375g ready-made, ready rolled puff pastry
500g pears (about 5-6)
75g chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp crystallised ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Peel, core and chop the pears into bitesize chunks. Combine this with the roughly chopped chocolate, ginger, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cornflour in a mixing bowl.
Un-roll the pastry and pile the filling mixture along the centre of it. With the short edge of the pastry facing you, make cuts along each of the long edges, about a third of the way in, at approximately a 45° angle upwards. Cut out and discard the corner sections.
Fold the top and bottom ends over the filling and brush them with the egg wash. Wrap the edge pieces over the filling, alternating them and bushing with egg wash as you go to ensure that they stick, creating a plaited effect.
Give the whole thing a final glaze with the egg wash and sprinkle it with a little Demerara sugar to give a crunchy finish. Bake the plait for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up, covering with a piece of foil if it starts to get a little too brown on the edges. Serve warm with a dollop of clotted cream.
I’m slowly but surely working my way through the fruit that’s weighing down the branches of my apple tree. This recipe only used a few apples but they made all the difference to a classic treacle tart recipe. It basically becomes a toffee apple tart – and who doesn’t want to eat that?!
You can add more apple roses if you like but my favourite part of a treacle tart is the golden crust on the surface so I didn’t want to totally cover the top of mine. The roses can be a little bit fiddly (not hard, just fiddly) so if you’d rather just lay some apple slices over the top instead then no one will judge you!
I prefer not to use a sweetcrust pastry for treacle tart as I think it’s already sweet enough but you can use one if you prefer.
180g plain flour
splash of cold water
zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half
150g golden syrup
3 tbsp creme fraiche
100g white breadcrumbs
25g ground almonds
big pinch of seasalt
juice of half a lemon
Start by making the pastry. Sift together the flour and cornflour and then gently rub the butter into it until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add a tiny splash of cold water and use this to bring the crumbs together to form a nice ball of dough. Flatten it a little, wrap it in cling film and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and lightly grease a loose bottomed tart tin.
Gently roll out the dough so that it’s a few millimetres thick and then use this to line your pie tins. Prick the base with a fork, cover it with grease-proof paper and fill it with baking beans.
Pop the pastry case in the oven for 20 minutes to blind bake. Remove the baking beans and paper from the pastry case and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until it’s baked through and lovely and crisp. Set aside whilst you make the filling.
Zest the lemon and put that and half the juice in a saucepan. Add the golden syrup, butter and creme fraiche and melt it all together. Stir in the breadcrumbs, almonds and seasalt, making sure everything is well combined. Spread the filling over the base of the pastry case. Increase the oven temperature to 190°c .
Now for those apple roses! Fill a large bowl with water and the juice of the remaining half a lemon. Slice the apples as thinly as you can and pop the slices in the water. Microwave the apple for a couple of minutes until they become flexible but not so soft that they break up.
Pat the apple slices dry and lay them out in long rows of about 12, overlapping them as you go. Roll the rows up to create the roses and then gently push them into the tart filling.
Bake the tart for 25 minutes, until it is lovely and golden and the roses are just starting to caramelise a little around the edges. Leave to cool a little before serving with clotted cream or ice cream.
As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot on too, squash, sage and nutmeg is such a classic combination.
Obviously if you’re pushed for time (there’s never enough of it at Christmas) you can use ready-made pastry. These will keep for a day or two in the fridge and re-heat beautifully too so feel free to make them ahead of time if you need to.
40g toasted hazelnuts (ground finely)
200g plain flour
pinch of seasalt
splash of very cold water
450g (ish) butternut squash
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Rub together the ground hazelnuts, butter, salt and flour, using your fingertips or a food processor, until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Use a little of the cold water to brind everything together but don’t let the dough get sticky. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°c and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Combine the ricotta, sage, parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper, mixing well and set it aside. Slice the ‘neck’ of the squash (don’t bother to peel it) so that the slices are only a couple of millimeters thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut the squash into pretty shapes, this should be pretty easy if your squash is thin enough.
Once the dough has chilled and relaxed roll it out on a very lightly floured surface so that it is just a few millimeters thick. Cut four circles out of the dough (a breakfast bowl makes a good template) re-rolling the dough as necessary.
Put the discs of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Add a dollop of the ricotta mixture to the centre of each and spread it a little. Arrange the squash slices on top, so that they overlap. Fold over the edges of the pastry, crimping and gathering as necessary. I like to brush the edges with a little beaten egg so that the pastry is lovely and golden once the galettes are baked. Dot the top of each one with a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle on a bit of black pepper.
Bake them for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 190°c and bake for a further 20 minutes.