So along with the apple picking and autumnal weather, it also seems to be pear season. I’m not the biggest fan of pears, especially cooked pears. I’m also not the biggest fan of nuts. Or dates for that matter.
Want to know the weird thing? I absolutely LOVED this tart.
Like, seriously, seriously, loved it.
The soft, crumbly pastry was so sweet and tasty. The warm, moist pears were to die for. And the actual filling was just on another level; the flavours and texture were simply incredible. I will most definitely be baking this one again.
Don’t even get me started on the toffee sauce. I have my own standard recipe that I use, and it’s always been simple and yummy. Yet the double cream in this recipe completely transforms it.
I love love love sticky toffee pudding (recipe can be found here) and it’s definitely a classic. But if you want something slightly different, a pastry pudding full of flavour and texture, this one’s your man. Or woman. Can a tart have a gender?! (gosh this is taking me back to Uni days and writing my dissertation on gender difference)
So…. Go bake this…. Now…. Seriously…. Can you tell I’m now passionate about pears, nuts and dates?!
Good ol’ Paul Hollywood, thanks for this one!
Hazelnut, Pear & Sticky Toffee Tart (serves 8)
For the pastry:
200g plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
100g unsalted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp very cold water
For the filling:
150g stoned dates, roughly chopped
3 ripe pears
50g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g ground almonds
100g light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp black treacle
75g shelled cobnuts or hazelnuts, roughly chopped
For the toffee sauce:
200g light muscovado sugar
50g unsalted butter
250ml double cream
- To make the pastry: mix the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs
- Mix the egg with the lemon juice and water. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mix. Using one hand, work the liquid into the flour to bring the pastry together. If it seems too dry, add a splash more water. When the dough begins to stick together, gently knead it into a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes
- For the filling: put the chopped dates and milk in a pan. Bring to the boil, and then set aside for 30 minutes to soak
- To make the toffee sauce: heat the sugar, butter and cream together in a pan over a low heat until melted and smooth, then bring to a simmer and let bubble for 5 minutes to thicken. Leave to cool
- Heat your oven to 180°C and have ready a 25cm loose-based fluted tart tin
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line the tart tin. Prick the base with a fork. Peel, quarter and core the pears; slice each quarter in two. Arrange in a circular pattern in the tart case. Drizzle over about 3/4 of the toffee sauce and place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the filling
- Mash the date mixture to a coarse purée with a potato masher. Tip it into a bowl with the softened butter, vanilla, flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground almonds, eggs, sugar and treacle. Whisk together with an electric whisk until just combined. Stir in the chopped nuts
- Spoon the date and nut mixture over the pears in the pastry case, spreading it out evenly. Bake the tart on the hot baking tray for 40 minutes, until the filling is well risen and browned. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the tin
- Serve the tart warm, with clotted cream or ice cream and the rest of the toffee sauce.