the seriousness of sweets

Northern Europe has taught me to really love sweet things. It must have something to do with the short days in winter or the force of the wind in spring because my love for cakes, tarts and pies has increased while living in the North. In Copenhagen I was lucky enough to work in a restaurant which meant that I spent days snacking away at dark chocolate cakes with sour cream for free. In Berlin I learned to take kaffee und kuchen seriously and to plan my meals around it and in Gothenburg I have learned that fika is not just serious, but an essential part of the day. Many afternoons I can be found sitting with a piece of carrot cake and a coffee. Sometimes these sweets fall under "the healthy or healthier" category (with ingredients such as coconut oil instead of butter, ground walnuts instead of flour and dates instead of sugar) and sometimes these sweets fall under "the unhealthy, but delicious" category. I figure that a good balance includes both.

This pear tart falls under the latter; however, it is the perfect ending to a rainy afternoon.

Pear Tart with Whiskey Cream

adapted from Feasting on Art's recipe for Design Sponge


1 cup flour
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp water

3 large pears
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp whiskey

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp whiskey
a pinch of ground vanilla bean

Cut tiny pieces of butter and add to the flour. With two butter-knives, cut the mixture until it clumps together and resembles small pebbles. Add walnuts, salt and sugar. Add water and mix until it forms a ball. Knead slightly and then form into a round disk. Cover with flour and baking paper and then refrigerate for one hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll onto a floured cutting board until it is about 1cm thick. Butter a pie dish and then transfer the dough to the dish. It helps if you place the pie dish upside down onto the dough and then turn the cutting board over. Trim excess dough and make sure that the dough is evenly spread across the dish. Press down edges with a fork. Place in the freezer.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350F/180C. When the oven is ready remove the dough from the freezer. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and then cover with baking weights (dried beans work well). Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and then remove the pie weight. Pierce the dough with a fork. This releases steam.

While the crust is baking, slice the pears so that they are medium thick. Toss the pears, brown sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, cinnamon, ginger and whiskey together in a bowl. Arrange the fruit in a circle in the baked crust. Cover with aluminum foil and return to the oven to bake. After 15 minutes remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the fruit is soft. Let cool slightly.

When ready to serve, whip together the whipping cream, sugar, whiskey and vanilla. Serve warm with a generous topping of whiskey cream.


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