Pastry and fruit is one of my all-time favourite dessert combos. From shortcake loaded with seasonal fruit, to a crisp and perfect tarte tatin, to a classic apple pie. Those all entail a little more effort but sometimes if a dessert craving strikes or you want to go easy on yourself when entertaining, using pre-made pastry or pre-made tart shells keeps things easy.
With these two recipes, you can either prepare the fruit yourself or keep things very easy and use tinned fruit. Pear, ginger, and caramel are a great combination, especially in colder weather. The idea for the apricot tart came after I had an apple and apricot crumble recently at a restaurant. They used their summer Central Otago apricots, which they had preserved, and it was such a joy to be able to enjoy them in the depths of winter. Many seasonal fruits work for the galette, and you can make individual ones or one larger. Just keep an eye on it when cooking.
EASY APRICOT GALETTE
If you had the foresight to preserve apricots over summer, this is the recipe for you. Otherwise, you can use tinned apricots. If using the fruit fresh in summer, poach them in a little sugar and a little water to soften before baking. This is a super-easy recipe to whip after dinner if you suddenly feel like pudding.
1 square sweet short pastry approx 30cm x 30 cm
1 cup apricot halves, drained (preserved, tinned, or fresh, poached gently in water and a little sugar)
1 tsp orange zest
1 small pinch ground cinnamon
1 tsp cornflour
2 Tbsp raw sugar
1 egg, beaten
Optional: 1 tsp thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 190C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
Sprinkle a little flour on the oven tray, and lay out the pastry (I used pre-rolled sheets).
In a small bowl, mix together the drained apricots, orange zest, cinnamon, cornflour, and 1 Tbsp of the sugar. Drain any excess liquid, then place fruit in the centre of the pastry, leaving a border of about 5cm.
Fold the border of pastry over the fruit, leaving a large portion of the fruit uncovered, and gently make a few pleats. Brush the border with the egg, and sprinkle over the other tablespoon of sugar.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the pastry is golden.
Remove from the oven and leave to sit for a few minutes. Carefully transfer to a wooden board, using a cake or fish slice. Cut on the board and serve with icecream or cream.
MINI PEAR AND GINGER TARTS WITH CARAMEL
Makes 9 tarts
For the caramel sauce:
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cream
2 Tbsp butter
Small pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix the sugar, cream, butter, and salt in a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the vanilla and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools, and will keep in the fridge for about a week.
To poach the pears:
1 cinnamon stick
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Peel and core the pears and cut into quarters. Place in small saucepan and cover with about 2 cups water, add the cinnamon stick and the sugar. Gently poach for about 20-25 minutes, until soft, then set aside until ready to use. The fruit will keep for a few days in a container in the fridge.
For the ginger cream:
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
Beat all ingredients together in a small bowl until soft peaks form
9 pre-made sweet pastry cases/tart shells
½ cup caramel sauce
2 pears, poached (or use ½ tin canned pears)
Take the tart shells, and add 1 tsp caramel sauce. Add chunks of poached pear, then drizzle over a little more caramel sauce. Place a spoonful of cream on top and serve immediately.