Thursday, January 6, 2011
A Tart for Sunshine
I don't always analyse why certain recipes catch my attention - only that I want to make them, and most of the time if I can, I do. When I'm at my parents' place for the holidays - like now - I tend to indulge a bit more when it comes to baking.
This was the case of Aran's beautiful pear and hazelnut tart for the holidays. My mother, having been given a choice of lemon-ginger bars or this, picked the tart. So I made it.
I made some changes to the recipe mostly because of ingredients at hand - instead of the brown rice flour and the two starches, I used the Ahern's Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix. Since I didn't have my stand mixer with me, I beat the sugar and butter by hand till it was light and fluffy (this can be done. Trust me. It is a bit slow and your arm will ache afterwards, but it is possible.)
I also cut down a bit of the sugar (a bit less than the half cup called for) and added 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to the frangipane because I still found it rather overpoweringly sweet. As for the pears, well, I bought five, intending to use two apples to make up the deficit, only to find that TWO pears were more than enough for the topping. Still, that left us three to eat, and more fruits isn't a bad thing at all!
Lesson to self: when rolling pie scraps, put them in the fridge first before the pastry gets so soft it has to be scraped up like mashed potatoes.
I didn't have a tart dish, so I used my mother's glass pie plate, and was afraid the bottom wouldn't be cooked in the time designated by the recipe. As it turned out, I had to cook it for another extra 20 minutes as both frangipane and the crust bottom were very soggy.
Once I got it out of the oven and let it cool though, it was -lovely-. Very, very rich, very buttery, and smelled fantastic. I put it in the fridge for the next day and it was even better since everything had firmed up beautifully. The crust was absolutely gorgeous.
(Food styling really isn't my forte, as you can see. Everything's lopsided!)
Verdict: A bit labour-intensive for me, since I had to grind my own hazelnut meal -and- cream the butter and sugar by hand, but otherwise I'd definitely make this again. The addition of the cocoa powder gave the tart a lovely chocolate taste that complemented the hazelnuts perfectly. Thanks again Aran for a wonderful treat!