Tuesday, October 12, 2010
TWD - Fold-Over Pear Torte
Today, I want to clap my hands - after two years (almost to the day) of baking along on Tuesdays with Dorie, it is my turn to pick a recipe. Hooray! My first TWD was aptly the pick of my blogging friend, Tammy, of Wee Treats by Tammy - the Caramel Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake.
Along the way, I have made many things that I otherwise might never have tried (some of which I liked, others not so much), and learned some new skills. I have almost mastered caramel, can make a reasonable tart shell, and have learned to make Italian buttercream, to pick out some highlights. I have also met many other fabulous TWD members, and look forward to visiting them on Tuesdays.
My pick from Baking - From My Home to Yours is the Fold-Over Pear Torte. There is no photo of it in the book, so I was intrigued as to how it would turn out. From Googling similar recipes, I believe it is supposed to look like a tall galette - you can see a lovely example of one here. Unfortunately, mine was not so much like a galette as a very high-sided tart, because my filling baked up and over the folds of the pastry, hiding them from view. No matter - this torte tasted delicious, and I loved the combination of soft fruit and custard filling in the crisp, buttery tart shell. However, I thought the ratio of custard to fruit would be higher - and if I made it again, I think I would make it that way. Nevertheless, it was a delicious dessert, which for once I was able to take to dinner with friends.
As hostess with the mostess for this week, I get to type up the recipe, so without further ado, here it is:
Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough
(Single crust, chilled)
1 1/2 cups all purpose (plain) flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons/150g) very cold, unsalted butter,
cut into tablespoon size pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons very cold vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
(I just used an equivalent amount of butter, ~ 30g)
1/4 cup ice water
Put the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse to just combine the ingredients. Add the butter and shortening, and pulse until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overmix - Dorie says some pieces should be the size of green peas, others the size of barley. Pulsing the food processor on and off, gradually add 3 tablespoons of ice water to the dough. Continue to add the water, a little at a time, pulsing on and off, until the dough looks evenly moistened and forms soft curds, and the dough sticks together when pinched:
Scrape the dough onto a work surface, form it into a flat disc, wrap the disc in cling film, then chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before rolling:
Once the dough has chilled, roll it out between pieces of wax paper, cling film or a rolling slipcover into a 14 inch round (turn the dough an eighth of a turn each time you roll to get a round shape). Place the rolled dough, still in between the paper or cling film, onto a baking tray, and refrigerate for 20 minutes:
Generously butter an 8 inch round springform pan. Take the dough out of the fridge, remove the top piece of paper or film, and turn the round of dough, bare side down, into the springform pan. Remove the rest of the paper or film, then gently press the dough into the pan so that it is flat against the bottom. Next, press the sides of the dough up against the sides of the pan. Do this by turning the pan on its side and turn the pan as you press down the dough. (I didn't bother with that.) The dough will pleat and may even crack. This is OK - just press the cracks together (just look at all the patches in mine!):
Once your pan is lined with dough, cover it and put it back in the fridge to chill while you make the filling and preheat the oven. Line a baking sheet big enough to hold your springform pan with a piece of baking paper or a silicone mat.
Centre a rack in your oven and preheat it to 200 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit/ gas mark 6.
1/3 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 large, ripe but firm pears
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup finely diced moist, plump dried apricots or moist, plump golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons (~25g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup heavy cream (I used light cooking cream)
confectioners (icing) sugar, for dusting
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Peel and core the pears, then cut them into 1/4 inch cubes. Put them in a medium bowl, and toss them with the lemon juice to prevent darkening. Stir in the zest, apricots (or raisins) and nuts:
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until they thicken (~ 3 minutes). Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the rum and extracts. Still with the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until incorporated. Last, add the melted butter, then the cream, mixing only until the batter is homogenous.
Remove the chilled dough in the pan from the fridge, and place it on the lined baking sheet. Spoon the fruit into the bottom of the pan, then pour over the batter, stopping when you have 1/2 to 1 inch of crust extending above the batter. (I recommend 1 inch, as half an inch didn't seem to be enough to contain the batter during cooking.) Don't overfill the crust - you may have some batter left over. Using your fingertips, gently push the dough down over the filling in a ruffle towards the centre of the torte. Don't push the dough into the batter:
There should be space between the filling and the crust, as the filling will rise to fill the gap.
Put the torte in the preheated oven, and lower the oven temperature to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit/ gas mark 4. Bake the torte for 60-70 minutes, or until the crust is browned and a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean. (Mine took substantially longer.) Check the torte after it has been baking for 40 minutes or so, and if the crust is getting too brown, cover the torte with a foil tent for the remainder of the baking time.
Remove the baked torte from the oven, and allow it to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Just before serving, run a knife around the outside of the torte to ensure it hasn't stuck to the pan, then remove the sides of the pan:
Dorie then says you can dust the torte with confectioner's sugar before slicing and serving - I didn't.
Here is a slice of the torte in all its glory:
You can see that the filling is mostly fruit with only a little custard (even though I used all the batter) - I would ideally like the proportions to be around half and half. Nevertheless, this was delicious, and my friends enjoyed it too - a crisp, buttery outer crust which contrasts with the soft, juicy filling.
To see how the other TWD members went with this recipe, visit the TWD blogroll. Thanks to everyone who baked along with me this week, and I hope you enjoyed the torte.