Monthly Archives: May 2014

Pear & almond tart

I wasn’t sure what to expect following my last post.  Actually, I didn’t think anyone would still be following Sharky Oven Gloves, so I wasn’t expecting much of a reaction at all.  Not only am I touched (and surprised!) by how many of you are still loitering and took the time to comment, it was also really encouraging to hear that I’m not alone in feeling frustrated with the state of affairs within the food blogging community.  Thank you for sticking around guys!

Pear & almond tart 1

With my usual knack for excellent timing, things went a little haywire right after I published that post.  Between a string of minor disasters at the lab, some slightly dramatic strife with somebody (and an apparent alliteration problem), the ensuing feeling of wretchedness, finding out that I have to move house in two weeks and starting to organise the details of that, I’ve had to divert my attention away from the newly revived Sharky Oven Gloves.  But I finally have a recipe for you today: pear and almond tart.

Pear & almond tart 2

The recipe this tart is based on neglected to specify the size of tin required…  So I guessed.  My guess was entirely based on the one size of tart tin that I happen to own, and that guess turned out to be wrong.  The pastry valiantly managed to contain all the filling, but only just.  I’ve ironed out the ratios and made a few other tweaks, resulting in a super scrumptious autumnal tart – pears scream autumn to me, and the almond filling makes the tart all dense and delicious and comforting.  Exactly what one needs to fend off the sudden, unwelcome appearance of winter this week.  As for the pastry, well, yum.  It’s a chocolate pâte sablée, which I always struggle to translate – I think it roughly translates to shortbread pastry.  The internet says “sweet cookie dough” which isn’t especially helpful.  Either way, its delicate chocolateyness works wonderfully with the pears and almonds.

Pear & almond tart 3

Pear & almond tart

Serves 8-10
Adapted from Tartes maison

The pastry can rest in the fridge for up to 2 days, so can be made the day before if time is a little on the tight side.  The recipe makes more recipe than required, but you could try freezing the leftovers or making a little extra tartlet.  The honey at the end is optional, but adds a little bit extra.

Ingredients

For the pastry:
200g all-purpose flour
65g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
150g unsalted butter
1 egg
2 tbsp crème fraîche

For the filling:
120g unsalted butter, room temperature
120g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
200g ground almonds
4 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large or 4 small pears
Handful of flaked almonds
3 tbsp honey (optional)

Directions

To make the pastry:
1.  Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt together in a large bowl.  Rub the cubed butter into the mixture with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2.  Whisk the egg and crème fraîche together in a small bowl before adding to the flour mixture.  Mix together with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together.

3.  Lay out a piece of cling-film, turn the dough out onto it and form into a disc 18cm in diameter.  Wrap in cling-film and refrigerate for at least 30 mins and up to 48h.

4.  Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C.  Butter and flour a 24cm tart tin.

5.  Remove the pastry from the fridge and carefully roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 3-4mm.  Carefully transfer it to the prepared tart tin by draping it over the rolling pin (it’s quite a fragile pastry, so delicacy is key here).  Cut off any overhanging pastry and prick the bottom with a fork.  If your kitchen is really hot and the pastry is starting to go soft and sticky, refrigerate the pastry for about 30 mins.  Otherwise, line it with baking paper, add baking beans and blind-bake it for 5 mins.  Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/fan bake 170°C and blind bake for a further 5-10 mins, until the pastry is just firm.  Remove the baking beans.  Keep the oven at 190°C/fan bake 170°C.

To make the tart:
6.  Whilst the pastry is baking, prepare the filling.  Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating only until just incorporated.  Fold in the ground almonds, flour and cinnamon.  Set aside.

7.  Half the pears lengthwise, peel and core them.  If you’ve used three large pears, cut each half into four segments, if you’ve used four small pears, cut each half into three segments.

8.  Once the pastry is blind-baked, spread the almond filling evenly over the base.  Lay the pears over the top, gently pushing them in.  Scatter the flaked almonds over the top.  Bake for 30-35, mins until the filling is set and golden.

9.  Just before the tart is done, add the honey to a small saucepan and heat over a low heat until very runny.  Brush the honey over the top of the tart as soon as it comes out of the oven (it can be a little difficult not to displace the almonds), then allow the tart to cool in the tin for 10 mins or so, before turning out onto a wire rack.  Serve warm or cooled to room temperature.

Enjoy!

Pear & almond tart 4

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Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

Guess who’s back, back again?

Mel is back!  Tell a friend.  And yes, I’m totally paraphrasing Eminem (13 year old Mel would be soooo proud – that song was the shit).  So anyway, hello there.  If anybody’s still there?  After six months of silence, I doubt anybody still follows Sharky Oven Gloves, but hey, one never knows.

Just in case somebody is still hanging around, desperately hoping that I might rock up again (because obviously, why wouldn’t you?), I do apologise for my abrupt and unexplained disappearance.  I wasn’t planning on taking such a massive blogging break.  Actually, I wasn’t planning on taking a break at all…

I started Sharky Oven Gloves because I wanted somewhere to gather together my favourite recipes, as well as an outlet for all my food chat.  Along the way I discovered the food blogging community.  And it was wonderful.  For a while.  About a year ago, I began to notice a few bloggers with a bit of a toxic attitude.  And I ignored it.  But that attitude began to permeate across the “blogosphere” and I became increasingly dispirited by how out-of-touch certain food bloggers sounded and by the number of reviews that were beginning to appear that were clearly just an avenue to get further freebies or of products completely irrelevant to food blogs (like… holidays or ferry routes, excuse me what?) that were beginning to appear.  In fact, it made me angry.

Quite frankly, I became so completely disenchanted that I decided to step away for just a week or so and take a few deep breaths.  But as more and more of those suspiciously-positive (a cynic might even say PR-arse-licking…) reviews clogged up my Feedly, my short break of a few weeks turned into a month… two months… and suddenly six months.  Oh.  Woops.  But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been spending time in the kitchen – meals were still cooked, cakes were still baked and jam was still made.

Summery stone fruit cake

I just didn’t have the enthusiasm to blog about any of them – between taking photos, editing them and writing up posts, blogging eats up a lot of time.  And because my heart wasn’t really in it anymore, blogging became a chore.  Taking full advantage of it being summer and living in a coastal idyll was a much more inviting use of my time.  Also the whole PhD thing.

Surfing in Waipu Cove

Over the last few months, I’ve made some changes – I’ve unfollwed those toxic bloggers, which I should have done sooner.  Way sooner.  For some reason, I felt that I should follow the big bloggers because they were important in some way.  Well guess what?  They’re not.  I’m not saying that because I’m a tiny little blogger, but because following a blog that irks me is not healthy, and I don’t gain anything good from it.  At all.  (Rocket science, I know.)  Consequently, I’ve been looking for blogs written by lovely, genuine people.  I’ve found several really great NZ-based blogs, but all suggestions of other blogs to check out are welcome!  I also feel revitalised, and once I’m back into the swing of things properly, I’m going to try to get more involved in the NZ food blogging scene.  Because it just makes sense – lovely people in the same country as me = no-brainer.

So there you go, a little explanation of my sudden disappearance.  No recipe today, but look out for one next week.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your day, wherever you are in the world!

Pancakes!  Brunch for the win.

 

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Filed under Ramblings