- 125g plain flour
- 55g butter
- 30ml cold water
- 5 large pears
- 100ml pear juice
- 100ml apple juice
- Cold water
- 300g passionfruit curd
- Start by preheating your oven to 160ºC and grease a medium-sized pastry dish with butter and a little flour.
- To make the shortcrust pastry, start by adding the butter in small cubes to the flour in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs with no large lumps of butter.
- Use a knife to stir in the water, adding it a tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to bind together.
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool before using.
- Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge. Lightly flour a surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry until it is large enough to cover the base and sides of your pastry dish. Transfer the pastry to the dish, making sure to press it gently into the base and sides.
- Cover the lined dish with greaseproof paper and fill with rice or dried beans to hold the pastry down in order to blind bake it. Bake for 20 minutes at 160ºC.
- Once the pastry has finished blind baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Remove the rice or beans and the greaseproof paper.
Whilst the pastry is blind baking, you can make the filling:
- To make the poached pears, gently peel the skins off the pears, leaving as much of the flesh as possible.
- In a saucepan, pour the fruit juices and top up with cold water, leaving room in the pan for the pears. Heat the liquid mixture over a medium heat and wait until hot before placing the pears into the mixture. Leave the pears in the mixture over a low heat for 15-20 minutes before removing them and leaving them on a plate to dry. Keep the juices to one side for now.
- Once the pears are dry and soft, cut them vertically into thin slices.
- On the cooled pastry base, spread a generous layer of the passionfruit curd. Into this, gently press the pear slices, progressing in a circular direction to create a spiral design. Pour a little of the poaching juices over the pears to coat them.
- Bake the tart in the oven at 180ºC for 20 minutes.
This is where my journey with shortcrust pastry started. I made this tart with my aunt when she came over for dinner one night after she’d agreed to give me a lesson in pastry. Having never worked with pastry of any kind before when baking, I really appreciated having someone who knew what it was supposed to look and feel like there to be able to direct me when I was first starting out.
My aunt is a wonderful cook and she’s particularly great at inventing dishes and discovering flavour combinations. This one came about after she found some passionfruit curd when out shopping. Sadly it’s not something particularly common, as I’ve not been able to find it since any small supermarkets, and the more common lemon curd probably wouldn’t work in quite the same way. It’s rather a shame, given that the combination worked really well, and the curd was also delicious in its own right!