The fourth week of the Great British Bake Off was definitely a corker wasn’t it?! The fruit pies, were contestants were terrified of having soggy bottoms, the custard tarts that were too wobbly and wouldn’t come out of the tin and lastly, the showstopper bake involving the making of filo pastry. I don’t think I would ever make my own filo pastry, would probably make me swear too much turn me into a nervous wreck. Gutted to see Ali leave but glad Becca and Christine are still there, go on girls!
I do love to make pastry, ranging from croissants, chocolate tarts and tartlets, pasties and of course, fruit pies. It can be stressful and hard work when you don’t have a food processor to do the mixing for you, but the end result is satisfying; the jubilation you feel to not have a soggy bottom on your pie/tart makes it worth it.
A number of possibilities went through my mind; I was going to make a French apple tart from the Baking Bible to combine the two and I considered a meat pie but thought it might be a bit too much hassle; finally, after looking around online, I found a Mary Berry recipe anyway! So for this week’s GBBO bake along, I have made a pear and lemon curd tart – featuring homemade lemon curd (I’ll blog this separately). I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe which I think makes a bit of a difference overall. Although it was quite yummy, I don’t think I’ll be making again, I prefer the open-ness of a fruit tart than the concealment of a pie (plus I think I should have used my other flan tin, whoops!). One more thing, leave it to cool completely; the recommended time was 10 minutes, and it just hadn’t set, so leave it to cool for a while, cut it up then serve (warm in the microwave if wanted). We enjoyed ours with ice cream and it seemed the perfect pudding for the chilly nights we’ve been having.
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For the pastry
- 300 g plain flour
- 150 g icing sugar (don’t worry, no need to sift this time!)
- 150 g butter, cubed
- 1 large egg
For the filling
- 100 g caster sugar
- 4 pears, preferably under-ripe
- 100 g full-fat cream cheese
- 250 g good-quality lemon curd
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 4 and put a baking sheet in to get hot. You will need a 28cm (11in) deep, fluted, loose-bottomed flan tin (I used appox 9″ tin)
- Now we need to start on the pastry; add the flour, icing sugar and butter into a bowl and rub together until it begins to resemble breadcrumbs. Add the egg and be patient with it; keep mixing until it begins to form a soft dough.
- Tip onto a floured worktop and knead lightly. Remove 1/3 of the pastry, wrap in clingfilm and leavr to chill in the fridge, approx 30 mins. Roll the remaining pastry a little bigger than the tin and use to line the base and sides, forming a lip around the edge of the tin. Chill in the fridge.
- To make the filling, add the sugar into a shallow, saucepan, add 300ml (10fl oz) water and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Peel the pears, slice in half through the stem and remove the core. Add the pears to the sugar syrup in the pan. Bring to the boil, cover, lower the heat and gently simmer for 12-15 minutes until just tender. Drain and leave to cool.
- Add the cream cheese, lemon curd, lemon zest and egg into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork. Spread the lemon filling over the pastry base and arrange the pears, cut-side down, on top. Roll out the reserved pastry, large enough to cover the top. Lift the pastry over the top and seal the edges by pressing the pastry edges together. Why not go mad and put some decorative leaves in the middle?!
- Sit the tart on the hot baking sheet in the oven (middle shelf I’d recommend) and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and lightly golden.