Posted by: themeanderingpathtoself | April 11, 2010

Fresh Pear and Blackberry Tart (gluten-free)

Food is kind of a big deal. I don’t mean just any food. I mean fresh-whole-patiently-lovingly-put-together-in-a-coherent-fashion food. Being the offspring of Argentine parents translates directly into a palate smitten with both red meat and a substantial smattering of recipes hijacked from the Italians. My relatively new aversion to gluten has generated a need for me to refashion aforementioned Italian recipes. Initially, I have to admit, it sucked. No bread? No pasta? No beer!? I convinced myself it would be a temporary predicament. They came out with a little pill for the lactose-intolerant, right? In the meantime, I got cracking on the process of re-learning how to eat, and more importantly, bake. Now, ten months later, I am starting to get the hang of it. I am, by no means, an expert (if you’re looking for one of those, please go directly here, but am back to my ‘feed everyone who comes through my kitchen’ ways. I feel infinitely better and don’t even miss gluten all that much.

For this recipe I used Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix. This mix is mana sent from heaven. Especially since I never have enough money at once to purchase all the types of gluten-free flours necessary to make something taste of gluten.

For the tart shell:

  • 1/2 package Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix (save the second half for something else…pizza? cinnamon rolls? the possibilities are endless)
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice-cold water

For the pastry cream:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 2 large, ripe D’Anjou Pears
  • 1 6 oz. package fresh blackberries
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the tart shell:

Prepare according to the package directions for “pie crust.” I found that I needed a bit more cold water than half the package of mix called for (I accounted for this in the ingredient list). Chill the dough for at least half an hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place your chilled dough in-between two pieces of parchment paper to roll out. Roll it out as thin as you can (maybe 1/8-1/16 of an inch) without it breaking. Remove one side of the parchment paper and press into a greased pie dish. If you want to be extra-fancy: use a fork to press an even, lined pattern around the circumference of the inside wall of the shell before baking (Also: I stuck the rolled out pie crust in the freezer for a couple of minutes before putting it into the oven to make sure it was still cold). Bake for about 30 minutes and let cool completely.

For the pastry cream:

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Add the cornstarch, vanilla and 2 or 3 tablespoons of milk to thin the mixture a bit. Whisk again to combine. In a saucepan, heat the rest of the milk until it begins to boil. At this point, pour about 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper it, whisking rapidly. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk and cook over medium heat, whisking rapidly the whole time. The mixture should begin to thicken rather quickly and when it becomes the consistency of a soft custard, remove it from the stove. Pour the mixture into a separate bowl immediately and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream. Put it in the refrigerator to cool.

For the topping:

Peel the pears and cut them in half, lengthwise. Remove the core and vein and slice lengthwise into thin pieces. Place the pear pieces into a bowl with the blackberries. Add the sugar, the zest of about half of the lemon and the juice of the entire lemon to the bowl and stir carefully to coat (watch those pear slices… they’re delicate little buggers). Put aside for about half an hour (or in the refrigerator) to allow the fruit to absorb the sugar.

Putting it all together!

Spread a thin layer of the chilled pastry cream onto the cooled tart shell. Arrange the fruit on top to your liking. I decided to focus on the pretty pears and arranged them in a circle near the crust, filling in the middle with a few blackberries.

Ignore the cat teapot… better yet:

Time to eat!




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