October 15, 2010

Blackberry and Pear Tart

      Photo by AT                                                                                                                                                                                                        

We had a big event this week at the museum and there was a bunch of fruit left over so I scavenged a half-dozen pears and decided to try my hand  at making a pear tart. A vegan cream base usually requires a number of items unavailable here in west Texas, so I did my best at substituting ingredients with what I could find in town. I brought the desert to our bi-weekly vegangelical potluck and it was a huge hit! If you have one of those fancy tart pans, now is the time to use it! If you are like me and don't have one, use a wine bottle to roll out the dough and pinch together the outer edges of the dough for a relaxed, country finish.

Tart Crust
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup earth  balance
ice cold water

Mix together your dry ingredients. Now cut in the marg. using  two knives or a pastry cutter. Try to quickly work the  dough into a sandy texture. Next add the ice cold water by the tablespoon until the dough is sticky and can be formed into a round ball. Cover the ball and leave it in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the components.

Cream Filling
1 package (350 g.) silken tofu *soft is best, but use what is available
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tsp. corn starch
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of ginger

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Taste and adjust as necessary. Add lemon or orange zest.

Fruit Filling
5 yellow pears (cored and thinly sliced)
1 cup sugar
3 Tbs. earth balance
1 pk. blackberries

Poaching pears works well for tarts, but I like to saute them in a big frying pan. Coat the sliced pears in sugar and place in buttered pan on medium heat. Turn the fruit after 3 minutes or once the pears begin to appear translucent. Caramelize the pears in shifts so that you have no more than one layer in the pan at a time and don't get rid of the juices!

     Photo by AT

Pre-heat your oven to 350. Roll the dough out between two sheets of waxed paper. Place the rolled dough in a tart pan or on a baking sheet. Pierce the dough lightly with a fork. Spread 1/2 the cream filling over the entire surface and cover with a layer of pears. Next, spread the remaining 1/2 of the cream onto the surface and cover with pears and blackberries. Pour the juices from the pear saute over the tart. Pinch together the ends of the dough and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the crust becomes golden and the cream sets. Let the tart cool once out of the oven and then place in the fridge to cool completely.


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