Wednesday, October 19, 2011

0 Recipe #292: Cherry, Apple, & Pear Tart (Made with Asian & Bosc Pears)

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This tart is best eaten while it's still warm.

This tart's got a balance of both sweet and tart flavors (pun intended!), just as a fruit tart should. As it bakes in the oven, the fruit will caramelize and become deeply infused with all of the spices, thereby intensifying the flavor of all of the ingredients and making your whole house smell good. :) The filling becomes a delectable ooze of soft warm flavors, which is contrasted nicely by the slight crunch of its crust. Enjoy this dish plain or with a scoop of lowfat vanilla ice cream. :)

Cherry, Apple, & Pear Tart (Made with Asian & Bosc Pears)

Filling Ingredients:
3 c. pitted dark sweet cherries (preferably fresh, but if unavailable, frozen will work too)
1/4 c. dried, all natural (i.e., no sugar added) cherries*
1 Asian pear, peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges (makes about 1 1/3 c.)
1 large Bosc pear, peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges (makes about 1 1/3 c.)
1 yellow apple, peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges (makes about 1 1/3 c.)
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 c. all natural, no sugar added natural apple sauce
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground clove
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. salt

Crust Ingredients:
2 c. oat flour (or use 2 c. whole oats and grind into finely powdered oat flour in a food processor)
1 c. walnuts, crushed into small pieces
1 Tbsp. honey
1/8 c. (2 Tbsp.) all natural, no sugar added cherry juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground clove
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 c. oat flour, for flouring work surface and rolling pin

Directions: To prepare filling: Place all of the fruit (fresh and dried cherries, pears, and apple) into a large bowl, then quickly cover with lemon juice and apple sauce to prevent oxidation. Next, add honey, vanilla extract, and all spices for the filling. Set aside, or cover and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the crust.

To make the crustEither use 2 c. pre-ground oat flour or put 2 c. whole oats in a food processor and  pulse until finely ground into a powdery consistency (or as close to it as possible!).  Add walnuts and pulse again until finely ground. Add remaining crust ingredients, minus the 1/4 c. oat flour (for flouring the work surface and rolling pin), and continue to pulse until thoroughly combined. Dough should be thick and stick together; do not over-mix or crust will be too hard when baked. Remove dough, scraping out remaining bits with a spatula. Form a dough ball and then place it upon a clean, even surface, uniformly floured with about 1/8 c. of the reserved oat flour. (You might want to first cover your countertop with wax paper to make clean-up easier and faster.) Flour a rolling pin with the remaining 1/8 c. oat flour, and roll out the dough ball until it's about 1/4" thick, always starting from the center outward, to form a large disc shape, about 12" in diameter.

Bake the crust: Carefully transfer dough to a 9" nonstick fluted tart pan (with removable bottom) or 9" pie plate, using your thumbs to press the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart pan/pie plate. You might need to work the dough with your fingers to help it spread out so that it reaches the upper lip of the tart pan/pie plate. Place tart crust/shell into into an oven preheated to 350°F and bake crust for about 10-12 minutes, or until light golden brown. (Do not bake the crust for much longer, or it will become hard and burnt when the tart is baked. It still needs to be baked first, as the crust needs to solidify a bit in order to keep it from becoming porous and thus, too soggy after the filling is added.) When the crust has finished baking, remove them oven and let cool completely. Then cover pie shell in wax paper, weigh down with a pie beads (or dried beans), and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum, preferably overnight if possible.

Assemble and bake the tart: Remove filling and tart shell from refrigerator, place onto countertop or other clean, level work surface, and carefully add filling, using a spatula to scoop it out into the tart shell a small clump at a time. (If you dump it in all all once, it'll splatter and a few pieces of fruit will most likely go flying. Not that I know this from experience or anything. LOL.) Place tart into a preheated 350°F oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife or fork can easily pierce the filling and come out clean. Tart crust should be a deep golden brown, but not burnt. :) Let cool completely. Either serve immediately, or refrigerate or freeze for future consumption. Serve and enjoy!

Yield: Makes 1 fruit tart, about 9" in diameter, or about 8-10 servings.

Chef's Notes: Please note: The tart crust can be made a day or two ahead of time and then refrigerated until you're ready to bake the tart. The dough for the crust doesn't need to be refrigerated before it's rolled out, as it's very solid and thick, and binds together exceedingly well.

*You can find no sugar added dried cherries at Whole Foods Market. Places like Trader Joe's and Wegmans might also carry them as well, but I know for certain they're carried at Whole Foods because I've bought them there recently. :) I've looked in regular chain grocery stores (like Giant and Safeway), but every dried cherry product I've found there thus far contains refined sugar.

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