A few weeks ago when it was fall break in Holland, we went apple picking. We were so excited to go there to do a food related activity together. To just pick the cream of the crop. And we did. And we were done in 5 minutes! Even though my little monkey begged and pleaded to pick kilos and kilos, (we all hate waste right?), I was firm and said no. So what were to do with our time? We went pear picking!
Not my favourite fruit, the pear. Visually it is a treat to look at but I’m not so crazy about its taste or texture. So we picked it because we didn’t know what else to do. But we were good and only picked four! 🙂 We just spent loads of time in looking for the perfect ones.
Came back home and thought of all sorts of ways to use the apples and made a million apple hand pies. And, then, we forgot the poor pears. Till yesterday, when I discovered them lying sadly in a corner. They had gone somewhat soft but were still good. In fact visually the pear has never looked more beautiful than these brown babies. But, I don’t like pears. More reason I thought to give them a shot. When half of my life I have spontaneously said no to food, I am learning to at least try new foods or not-liked-before food, at least when it is vegetarian.
A tart was obvious. “Make stoofperen (poached pears) then mama”, says Charlize. Hmm that just sounds too easy I say back to her. I’m not sure I can explain how my brain works, because it is chaotic as hell as OCD the rest of my existence is. But for some reason dulce de leche came to my mind. I have no clue why. Maybe because I thought I’d use it as a crutch to support my reluctance for the pear. I have been reading about dulce de leche for years. And even though it has seemed so intriguing I have never had reason to try it. So off I went looking for how to make it. And found a genius way to do it. Instead cooking milk and preparing it that way I found another way. It just seemed to good to be true. And therefore had to be tested. It worked!
So after two failed attempts at making this tart, here I give you the one that did work. Don’t forget to look at my notes when you decide to try this out and why wouldn’t you? It would be folly not to when it is as simple as pie!
- 350 grams puff pastry, defrosted
- 3-4 tbsps dulce leche (store bought is also good)
- 2 firm pears, core taken out and sliced thin
- 1 egg, beaten
- sugar for sprinkling
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- For the Dulce de Leche
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- To make the dulce de leche, take a large pan and fill it water. The pan should be big enough to completely submerge the can of condensed milk. Make two hole in the tin of condensed milk on opposite sides. You can do this with a can opener. Also take off the label. Bring the water in the pan to a boil and then submerge the tin and lay it on its side with a pair of tongs. Reduce the heat to medium and let the can sit in the simmering water for three hours. Make sure the can is submerged at all times. You can add more boiling water from time to time. Once the three hours are up, make sure you cool the can completely before opening it. Once cool, open and stir well.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C / 430°F. Roll the puff pastry out on a floured surface to make a circle. Leave a 1 inch border around the edge. Finely crosshatch the centre of the pastry or poke it many times with a fork. Spread 3-4 tablespoons of the dulche de leche over the centre of the circle up to the border.
- Place the pear slices onto the centre of the tart and arrange them in a pattern. Sprinkle with the cardamom powder.
- Brush the edge of the pastry with egg, generously sprinkling with sugar on the pastry and all over the pears as well. Bake the tart for 18-20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed up and golden and the pears are bubbling.
- Serve immediately with some ice cream.
2. Try and never use a tart tin when using puff pastry. The heat has nowhere to escape and the underside of 2 tries were raw. Always place the puff pastry on baking paper and then onto a baking tray.
3. When preheating the oven, let the baking tray get hot as well and then slide the baking paper with the tart on it. This helped make sure (to some extent that my underside was cooked through)