I made this pear and almond tart for a bbq that we had at the house a few weeks ago and it was a major hit with our friends. As always I took a regular recipe and altered it substituting healthier ingredients. So in place of refined sugar I used organic rapadura sugar which is dehydrated sugar cane juice with a lower GI and loads more minerals than processed sugar and I used spelt flour instead of white flour.
Spelt is an ancient subspecies of wheat but unlike its often overly processed cousin, it has a better nutritional profile with fewer calories and more protein. It is suitable to use in baking but requires far less manipulation to develop the gluten network so be cautious not to over mix it and although it does contain gluten it appears to not induce sensitivities in people who are intolerant of wheat.
The key to this recipe lies in the pears. You need to use ripe pears that are full of flavor. I made this recipe once with unripe pears that I had just picked up from the supermarket and they were so tasteless! It spoilt the tart. If you can get organic pears then do it they are far superior in taste to the commercial supermarket ones.
I served it with plain coconut yogurt and it complimented the tart so well. Coconut yogurt makes for a fantastic vegan cream supplement.
- 2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
- ⅔ cup salted butter
- 3 T rapadura sugar
- 7 tablespoons ice water
- 5-6 ripe pears
- 3 cardamon pods
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- 1 cup sugar
- 200g ground almonds
- 140g butter, creamed
- 2 eggs beaten
- 20ml spelt flour
- 170g rapadura sugar OR 200g castor sugar
- 60ml apricot jam
- juice of ½ lemon
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the sugar and stir, making sure the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat down slightly and add the ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamon pods.
- Core the pears from the bottom and peel keeping them whole then slide them into the poaching liquid and poach for 25 minutes at a low boil until soft. Remove from the heat and allow the pears to cool completely in their own liquid.
- Combine the spelt flour, sugar and diced butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles lentils adding ice water as needed and being careful not to over manipulate.
- Remove the pastry from the processor and bring it all together in a ball gently.
- Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 20 mins.
- In the processor combine the ingredients for the almond paste and blend until smooth.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out between 2 sheets of baking paper until it is ½ cm thick then line your tart tin with it, gently pressing it in.
- Spread the almond paste over the pastry and place the drained pears nicely ontop. (you can slice the pears if you want and layer them out but I prefer the dramatic presentation of whole poached pears)
- Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Make the glaze by melting the apricot jam with 4oml water and a squeeze of lemon juice. carefully brush over the pears and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes. This can be done just before serving.
- Remove from the oven and serve with whole organic cream or coconut yogurt.