When Sunday rolls around (often with a simple bink of an eye) I make my morning commute into The Valley. A stunning tree lined, farm strewn, creek lined, rainforest just 5 kilometers from the beach. It’s a place to rejuvenate on hot days, swimming and lazing on the grassy banks of the creek. It’s a place to fill your heart with love, beauty and splendor surrounded by friends and family, cows and chickens and for that reason a place of many i do’s.
But on Sunday, it’s a place that I fill my Moroccan market basket.
On a gravelly patch of land, on a corner of an intersection, a little pop up stall appears offering the very best produce of the season, organic, locally grown and with the best price tags.
To passing tourists it is a blip on the radar, nothing more than a shanty shack by the side of the road. To the locals it is “the” place to get your weekly produce fix. Recently the local crowd has grown, and the rush is on to get the best, most popular or best priced veg.
My Sunday ritual continues when I get home to unload my precious beauties, it’s a time to find any forgotten about veg or fruit from the previous week and to go about using them up.
This week there were pears, ripe and tender and smelling sweet, hidden beneath a growing collection of zucchini and kale. Instantly dreams of a warm tart filled my imagination and tart is what they became.
Sweet fruit matched with an almond sweet butter paste binded with egg and a sugar dusted crisp rough puff pastry. Heaven.
You can make a crustless version using a metal push through tart mold. Spray liberally with oil or butter to avoid sticking. The little tart in the front of the images was made in this exact way. The frangipane mix becomes the crust, with a firmer outer rim and a soft center.
The freeform tart, made from some forgotten produce was happily and heartily enjoyed for afternoon tea by my little family. It became a moment together, treasured.
Gluten Free Rough Puff Pastry
250g super cold butter in small cubes
500g Gluten free Plain flour
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
1 tsp xanthan gum.
6 – 12 tbsp cold water
2 ripe pear
1 pinch cinnamon
75g butter, soft
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup almond meal
Toasted almond flakes (optional)
Icing sugar to serve
Pastry: In a bowl combine GF flour, salt and Xanthan gum.
Add in the vinegar and using a knife mix in just enough water to make a dough. This will depend on your flour and the weather of the day.
Once combined add the butter and lightly mix through, so the butter retains it’s shape.
Between 2 sheets of silicone paper roll the pastry into a rectangle about 20cm by 30cm. Shortest side in front of you.
With the shortest closet to you, fold up to 1/3 of the dough. With the shortest side furthest away, fold over the top of the 1/3 to create a rectangle parcel 1/3 of the original size, now with the long side in front of you.
Turn the dough so the shortest side is in front of you again. Roll out into a rectangle about 20cm by 30cm.
Repeat folding and turning for 5 more times. If the dough gets a little warm and sticky, simply chill for 30mins, and then carry on folding and turning.
When the required number of folding is completed cut in half, cover each portion and chill for 1 hour or until required.
Frangipane: In the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer, combine butter and caster sugar and mix until light and fluffy and sugar has been dissolved.
Add the 1 egg and the vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
Add the almond meal and whiz until fully incorporated.
Slice the pear in half and remove core and stem. slice finely and evenly.
Roll out 1 portion of the rough puff pastry (reserving the rest for another time) between 2 sheets of silicone paper until you have a rough circle about 4mm thick.
In the center of the dough place half of the frangipane mix, leaving 2 – 3cm around the edge clear.
Top the frangipane mix with the sliced pear, sprinkle with the cinnamon.
In a bowl lightly whisk the remaining egg. With a pastry brush, brush the whisked egg around the exposed dough.
Carefully fold the pastry up over the pear and frangipane in a rough pleat, leaving the center exposed and brushing freshly folded pastry with egg wash.
Once folded up, with silicone paper underneath place onto a baking tray. Do a final egg wash over the whole tart and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 180C.
Place the baking sheet with the tart on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the pastry has browned and blistered and feels firm, but not burnt.
To serve sprinkle with icing sugar and scatter toasted almonds. Enjoy hot or cold.
If you are making this crustless, Place the frangipane in the well oiled tart mold and fill to 3/4. Add the pear onto and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 25 – 35 mins or until the mix is browned and the outer rim has crusted up.
The remaining rough puff will last in the fridge up to 5 days or you can freeze up to 3 month. Just defrost before rolling out.
If you don’t have pears, apples or slightly steamed rhubarb would be a great substitute.
Cider vinegar ans xanthan gum help with the pastries elasticity.
The egg wash helps to brown and seal the pastry.