Mini Fold Over Pear Tortes and Masala Chai
I really thought I would not be able to do this month’s Secret Recipe Club. But thanks to the assigned blog, I was able to find something that I could fit in the schedule without making a trip to the grocery store. The reason why the latter was important is because we are leaving for a long vacation (I would be out for 2.5 months) and I wanted to leave the refrigerator empty.
So even though there are plenty of great recipes on Margaret’s site, Tea and Scones, I had to choose something I already had in the refrigerator. I had two pears (well, actually 1 1/2 pears- because a part of one of the pears had been squished) and found this on her site. Margaret doesn’t list the recipe but since I have Baking: From My Home to Yours, I used this as an opportunity to get the book out of the bookshelf.
Since the torte is similar to a rustic galette except instead of being free formed it is baked in a spring form pan, and since I just had 1.5 pears to work with, I halved the recipe and made it more like a galette.
And well, true to the blog’s name, I had to try a tea recipe from Margaret’s blog. I used her chai spice mix and it was great! The only change I made was that I ground the tea leaves with the mix and mixed Coffee mate powder in it. In the end, I had an instant spiced tea mix that has made tea making so easy! You can check the recipe for the chai spice mix here.
MINI FOLD OVER PEAR TORTES
Dorie calls this as a ‘fall-into-winter dessert’, but at the same time summery because of the ‘cream and egg custard that’s so deeply flavored with vanilla and almond as to produce, almost magically, a warmed-by-the-sun sensation’.
I halved the recipe since I had only 1.5 pears to work with. The recipe given below is the halved version.
- 1 1/2 pears
- 1/6 cup all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
- pinch baking powder
- squirt lemon juice
- zest of 1/4 lemon
- 1/4 cup plump raisins
- 1/6 cup chopped pecans
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup vanilla sugar
- 1/2 tbsp dark rum
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup All purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- pinch salt
- 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/4 tbsp vegetable shortening
- about 2 tbsp ice water
- Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your food processor, pulse together the butter with the flour mix, till the dough resembles pea-sized balls. One tbsp at a time add the ice water, till the dough just about comes together. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll the pie dough to a circle. Dorie asks to use a springform pan, but since I halved the recipe and had planned to make mini tortes, I used a sheet pan and rolled the dough into one 6 inch circle and the other a little smaller ( I am sorry I do not remember the exact measurements!). You could use mini tart pans for this. The recipe would only require two or three. Once on the sheet pan, I folded up the sides and wrapped an aluminium foil around it so that it would retain its shape. In a nutshell, I just made a small round pan with the aluminium sheet and chilled it in the refrigerator while I prepared the filling.
- Filling: Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Peel and core the pears, then cut them into 1/4 inch cubes. Put them in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice to keep from darkening. Stir in the zest, raisins and nuts.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably with the paddle attachment ( I used my muscle strength here), beat the egg and the sugar together until they thicken about 3 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, add dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Finally add butter followed by cream, mixing only until batter is homogenous.
- Once the filling is made, remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. Spoon the fruit into the mini pie doughs. Pour the batter, but do not fill to the top- leaving some place for the batter to swell up while baking. Using your fingers push the crust down over the filling- don’t fold the top down, just push it toward the center in the ruffle.
- Put the torte in the oven, lower the temperature to 350 F and bake until the crust is beautifully browned and a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean. If the top is browning too quickly, cover it with an aluminium foil. It took me about 50 minutes for it to bake.