Make this tart when you have a spare couple of hours and you’re feeling creative. It’s a bit more time-consuming than most of the recipes which appear on this blog but not difficult. You may think it has a lot of sugar and it does. But there’s a lot less than the original version of the recipe, because I cut down on the amount of caramel sauce and crumble. The crumble is optional.
¾ cup caster sugar
½ cup cream
60g unsalted butter, diced
150-175g puff pastry (see note below)
1 egg white
½ tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp flour
2-3 pears, peeled, quartered and cored
1 Tbs melted butter
1 Tbs caster sugar
½ cup plain flour
3 Tbs sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp ground ginger
Vanilla ice cream – home-made or bought
Caramel sauce: place sugar in non-stick heavy pan and heat, swirling pan from time to time, until rich golden brown. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, then cream, until smooth, then cool. If you have a large piece of caramel which refuses to dissolve, put the sauce back on the heat for a minute or two and stir until it dissolves.
Tart: Pre-heat oven to 200ºC. Line a biscuit tray with baking paper and lay the pastry rectangle on top. It should be about 5mm thick and measure about 14-15 cm by 25-26cm. Place marzipan, egg white, vanilla and the ½ tsp flour in food processor and mix till smooth. Spread this evenly over the pastry, then cover with the thinly sliced pears. You may prefer to select only the best and larger slices of pear and eat the rest.
Brush with the 1 Tbs melted butter and sprinkle with the 1 Tbs caster sugar. Bake 15 mins. Remove from oven and drizzle with some of the caramel sauce (see below). Place a piece of baking paper on top, then another biscuit tin and flip the tart, so the pears are on the bottom. Put back in the oven with pears on the bottom for another 15 mins or until pears are nicely caramelised. Remove to a cutting board. If making ahead, leave tart on the paper-lined tray so you can put it back in the oven for a few minutes and serve it warm.
Crumble: While tart is cooking place all ingredients for crumble in food processor and mix until combined and starting to stick together. Tip onto a biscuit tin lined with baking paper and spread out. Bake for about 15 mins or until golden brown. Once or twice during cooking time break up the larger lumps and mix the crumble so it browns evenly.
To serve: Place a zig-zag drizzle of caramel sauce to one side on six serving plates. With a very sharp knife, cut tart vertically into two, then cut each half into three, so you have six slices each measuring about 14 by 4.5cm. Arrange a slice of tart on top of the caramel sauce. On the other side of the plate arrange a heaped tablespoonful of crumble and top with a quenelle of vanilla ice cream.
Notes: Carême is the best brand of puff pastry in Australia. More expensive but worth it. Available from some IGA supermarkets. Each packet contains 375g of ready rolled pastry. I cut it in half and used one half – stuck the rest back in the freezer for another time. I ended up with a rectangle about 14x26cm.
Variation: use apples instead of pears. If you don’t like marzipan just omit that layer.