Hazelnut, Pear & Sticky Toffee Tart

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.

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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.

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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)

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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!

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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

150ml milk

3 ripe pears

50g unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

50g ground almonds

2 eggs

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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Heat your oven to 180°C and have ready a 25cm loose-based fluted tart tin
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Serve the tart warm, with clotted cream or ice cream and the rest of the toffee sauce.
  10. ENJOY!
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Pork, Apple & Cider Pie

It’s been apple picking season for us this past week or so. We’ve got delicious Reverend W Wilks and Worcester Pearmains. They smell so lovely and sweet, fresh off the trees. There’s nothing quite like waking up early, the air is starting to get a little crisp, the field is misty and the apples are ready to cook with.

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Watch out for more apple related posts!

A few dinners ago I decided on a pork, apple and cider pie; autumn is upon us! Shoulder is particularly tasty, and with the apple and cider, this pie is so so so simple yet so flavoursome. It’s sweet homely aromas filled the kitchen, the mash and greens complementing the pie perfectly.

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 The cider pastry recipe is particularly scrummy, and might just have made it into my favourite pastry bakes.

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And what’s better than using your own apples in a yummy pie for dinner hey?!

ENJOY! 🙂

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Pork, Apple & Cider Pie (serves 4)

For the cider pastry:

1 egg, beaten

125ml dry cider

125ml olive oil

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

375g plain flour

1 egg, to glaze

For the filling: 

1 tbsp

1 sweet onion

2 celery sticks, de-stringed and chopped

500g pork shoulder

2 tbsp plain flour

175ml dry cider

1 cooking apple (about 150g) peeled, cored and sliced

2 eating apples (about 250g) peeled, cored and sliced

4 sage leaves

Salt and pepper to season

  1. To make the pastry: beat the egg in a large bowl with the cider, olive oil, baking powder and salt. Slowly mix in the flour until you have a soft dough (you may not need all the flour) Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to cool in the fridge for around 45 minutes
  2. To make the filling: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for around 5 minutes, until soft. Remove the vegetables from the pan
  3. Add a little more oil and increase the heat to medium-high. Brown the pork well on all sides. Turn the heat down a little and return the vegetables to the pan. Sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the cider and stock, stirring so the flour is absorbed. Add the apples and sage. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat, simmering for around 45 minutes, until the pork is tender. Taste the sauce and season to taste
  4. Heat your oven to 200 degrees and position a pie funnel in the middle of your pie dish
  5. Spoon the filling into the dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and lift the pasty sheet over the pie, pressing down the edges to seal (I usually find sticking strips of pastry around the rim helps keep the sheet in place). Crimp the edges and decorate with pastry leaves and berries
  6. Brush the lid with a beaten egg and bake for around 35 minutes, until golden and crisp
  7. Serve with mash and greens 🙂