PEAR TARTS

PIES & TARTS

Did I ever mention that I love autumn with the early morning fog and the warming rays of the sun in the afternoon? I love the light and the smell of this season and the big variation of wonderful and delicious vegetables and fruits. For a dinner with friends I made these mini tarts with pears, but they can be made with apples or fresh figs as well and they taste delicious served with some whipped cream or homemade ice cream.

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Makes 6 tarts:

  • 1 rectangle puff pastry sheet
  • 3 small pears
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 dl water
  • 150 g sugar

Bring the water, the sugar, the vanilla seeds and the bean to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. 

Peel the pears, cut them into quarters, rub  the quarters all over with lemon juice, then add the pears to the simmering water and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove pears from the syrup and allow to cool a little, then remove the cores of the pears from the centers. Cut each quarter lengthwise into 3 or 4 slices, like a fan.

Fold one half of the pastry over the other and cut out 6 circles, the circles should be slightly larger than the size of the pears.

Like a fan top the pears on the pastry and brush the pears gently with the remaining syrup.

Heat the oven to 190° degrees and bake the tarts for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the tarts from the oven and serve them warm with some whipped cream or ice cream.

Happy baking!

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SABLÉS with CHESTNUT PURÉE

COOKIES

This delicate and crumbly French butter cookie is traditional in a round shape with a criss-cross pattern on the top of each cookie. A lovely treat on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

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 Makes about 40 cookies

  • 250 g flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 150 g cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g chestnut purée
  • 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of milk

Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and butter together and gently work with your fingertips until crumbly.

Then add the egg and the chestnut purée and knead the dough as much as necessary with your hands until the dough comes together.

Wrap the dough in a plastic foil and let it rest in a cool place for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200° C and line a baking tin with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking parchment until it is about 4 mm thick. Cut shapes with your favourite cookie cutter, then place the cookies on the lined baking tin. Repeat with the remaining dough.

With a fork or a toothpick make the criss-cross pattern on the top of each cookie and brush them with the whisked egg yolk and milk and bake them for about 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy baking!

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RASPBERRY TARTELETTES with ALMOND CREAM

PIES & TARTS

You really can’t beat the taste of freshly picked raspberries and although the signs of autumn already here, our raspberry bushes are still full with deep-red berries with a delicious sweet flavour.  So what goes better than putting them together with a blob of almond cream into a buttery short pastry crust.

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Makes 6 tartelettes in 10 cm tins.

For the pastry: 

  • 200 g flour
  • 100 g butter
  • 60 g confectioners sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a pinch of salt

Add the flour, the butter, the confectioners sugar and salt together and gently work with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and knead the dough only as much as necessary with your hands until the dough comes together.

Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or best overnight.

Remove the pastry from the refrigerator half an hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Cut the pastry in 6 pieces and roll out each of the pieces between two sheets of baking paper until about 3 – 5 mm thick.

Place the pastry in the tins and prick each base several times with a fork.

Fill the pastry tins with baking paper and add baking beans to weigh it down.

Bake the pastry for about 10 minutes on the second lowest rack in the oven, then carefully remove the paper and beans and bake the pastry for about 5 minutes more or until golden.

Then transfer the tart shells to a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the almond cream:

  • 1.5 dl milk
  • 30 g sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 15 g cornstarch
  • 80 marzipan, grated
  • 40 g ground almonds

Heat the milk in a pan over low heat and bring it to boil, then remove the milk from heat.

Mix the sugar, the pinch of salt , the egg yolk and the cornstarch in a bowl. Than stir the egg mixture in the hot milk very slowly and set the pan over low heat and bring the mixture to boil until the milk-egg mixture is thickened.

Pour the cream through a sieve into a bowl, add the graded marzipan and the ground almonds and allow the cream to cool to room temperature.

Beat the egg white until stiff and fold in the cream and set aside until ready to use.

To assemble the tartelettes:

  • 200 g raspberries
  • confectioners sugar

Spread the pastry cream onto the bottom of each of the tart shells and add the raspberries.

Sprinkle over the confectioners sugar and ENJOY!

Happy baking!

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VEGAN APPLE TART

PIES & TARTS

My dear friend Luana from benvenutocellini asked me a few days ago, if I could give her some suggestions for vegan cakes recipes. After searching the net and reading many of vegan recipes and articles I was ready for my first vegan cake. I thought I can’t go wrong to start with an apple tart and I’m very happy how delicious it turned out.

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Preparation for a 20cm spring or tart pan

For the pastry:

  • 100 g spelt flour
  • 80 g whole hazelnuts
  • 60 g cane sugar
  • 80 g vegan butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake them for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, let the nuts cool completely and finely grind the hazelnuts.

In a large bowl add the flour, the sugar, the margarine, the almond milk and the ground hazelnuts and gently mix until the dough comes together. The dough should feel a little moist.

Wrap the dough in a plastic foil and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 60 minutes.

For the filling:
  • 3 – 4 apples
  • 3 tablespoon muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Calvados

Peel all of your apples, get rid of the cores and cut the apples in slices.

Add the apple slices to a pan and add the muscovado sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, vanilla extract, the lemon juice and Calvados,

Simmer gently the mixture for about 10 minutes on a medium low heat, until the apples are just tender.

Remove from the heat and slow to cool completely.

To assemble the tart:

Preheat the oven to 190° C

Transfer the dough to the tart pan and press it into the pan until the base and sides are evenly covered with a neat layer of dough and pierce with a fork several times. Keep the remaining dough for the crumb topping.

Fill the pastry case with a round of baking paper and add baking beans to weigh it down.

Bake the pastry for 15 minutes on the second lowest rack in the oven, then carefully remove the paper and beans and bake the pastry for 5 minutes more.

Remove the pastry from the oven, arrange the apples in a circular pattern and spoon a little bit of the applesauce over the apples and sprinkle it with the remaining crumb topping.

Bake the tart in a preheated 180° C oven in the middle rack for about 15 minutes.

Spoon the remaining applesauce over the tart and serve the tart warm or cold.

Happy baking!

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THREE KINGS DAY

ROLLS & BUNS

On the 6th of January we celebrate the Three Kings Day here in Switzerland. It marks the end of the Christmas season and celebrates the visit of the Wise men to the Baby Jesus. To honor this arrival, a Three Kings Cake is made and if you visit any bakeries or supermarkets right now in Switzerland, you will see Three King Cakes for sale. The Three Kings Cake is a sweet bread, similar to a Challah or braided bread and shaped like a flower. In addition, a King is hidden in one of the pieces and whoever gets the piece with the King inside is crowned King for this day. 

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 Preparation:

  • 500 g flour
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 30 g fresh yeast
  • 3 dl milk
  • 75 g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 almond
  • 1 dl milk
  • sliced almonds and coarse sugar for decoration

Warm the milk in a saucepan until lukewarm and dissolve gently the yeast in the milk.

Melt the butter in another saucepan.

Combine the flour, the sugar and the salt and form a little hollow in the middle. 

Pour the yeast – milk mixture and the melted butter in the hollow and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic for about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a bowl and coat the bowl with a wet towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume for about 90 minutes.

Knead the dough once more and let it rise for another 90 minutes.

When the dough has doubled the volume once more, knead the dough. Then cut the dough into 4 pieces.

Form a roll of one of the pieces, this will be the middle roll.

Cut the three restless pieces in half once more and form 6 small rolls, placing the almond into one of the rolls.

Place the big roll onto the baking sheet, then place the six smaller rolls around the larger one and let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200° C

Brush each of the rolls with the egg yolk – milk – mixture and sprinkle with the coarse sugar and sliced almonds.

Bake the cake for about 30 minutes.

Happy Three Kings Day!!

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