Pear Cream Tart

Tarte de Pera

Inspired by a bag of organically grown pears from the garden of a family friend, I made Portuguese Tarte de Pera,  a recipe from Pimentos & Piri Piri.  The pears, port and cinnamon make for a decadent and tender dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Anjou pears are my favorite for cooking.  Bartlett, Bosc, and Concorde are equally good for pies and readily available in the fall. Apples can also be used instead of pears.

The recipe for the buttery, port-infused tart crust can be made ahead and refrigerated 3 days in advance or frozen up to 3 months prior to use.  Depending on how much time you have, either make the tart  traditionally or follow the  quicker food processor recipe.  Both methods are provided.

Pear Cream Tart

  • Servings: 6 to 8
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Ingredients

TART

  • 3 1/4 cups (810 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fine salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) port

CREAMY PEAR FILLING

  • 4 or 5 Anjou pears
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) + 1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnnamon
  • 1 cup (250 mL) 18% cream
  •  2 tbsp (30 mL) port
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sifted icing sugar

Instructions

  1. TO MAKE THE TART SHELL Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Gradually add the butter, 1 to 2 Tbsp (15 to 30 mL) at a time, mixing with a fork until well distributed and the mixture is crumbly.  Add the egg, mixing well.  Gradually add the port, a spoonful at a time, mixing lightly with a fork until the dough forms a ball.  (Alternatively, in a food processor mix the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add the butter and process until the mixture becomes crumbly.  With the food processor running, through the feed tube, add the egg, followed by the port one spoonful at a time until the mixture forms a ball.)
  2. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until cold.  This will allow the pastry to rest and make it easier to work with the dough.  (Recipe can be prepared ahead to this point, covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
  3. On a floured surface, roll half of the dough into a 10-inch (25 cm) circle (wrap the remaining half and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months for later use).  Transfer to a 9-inch (23 cm) pie pan, flute edges, and place in fridge until ready to use.
  4. TO MAKE THE CREAMY PEAR FILLING  Peel and core the pears; cut into thin slices.  Toss with lemon juice so they will not turn brown.  Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and arrange the pear slices decoratively in a circular design on the bottom of the crust; sprinkle each layer with a little sugar  (you may need up to 2 tp/10 mL of sugar).  In a bowl, beat the eggs, ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar, cream, and 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of port.
  5. TO ASSEMBLE Pour the cream mixture over the pears in the pie plate.  Bake in a preheated 425F (220C) oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350F (175C)  and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes or until the filling in the centre is golden and set. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Pumpkin Soup

There are an abundance of pumpkins at the markets, local grocers and even corner stores this time of year. Portuguese style pumpkin soup is a great way to warm and nourish your family with this bright coloured squash.

Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are a perfect balance to the to the favourite Azorean seasonings of cinnamon, all spice, and cumin. Sometimes I like to  serve the soup with bite size chunks of vegetables and meat instead of pureeing.  * Freeze leftovers.

Pumpkin Soup

  • Servings: 10
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Ingredients

  • 4 oz (120 g)  chourico unchopped
  • 8 oz (240 g)  lean bacon or pork hock, unchopped
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 10 cups (2.5 L) chicken stock
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 small pumpkin (about 4 lb/1.8 kg)
  •  Two 1-inch (2.5 cm) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp (5mL) whole allspice
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
  • Pinch fine salt
  • Ground cinnamon, for garnish

Instructions

    1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine the chourico, bacon, onion, garlic and stock.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.  Skim off all scum.
    2. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and quarter.  Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and skin, and cut into large cubes.  Add the vegetables, cinnamon sticks, allspice, cumin, and salt to the saucepan.  Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes, just until vegetables are tender.  Discard the cinnamon and allspice.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the chourico and bacon, and chop the meat into bite-sized pieces; set aside and keep warm.
    3. Transfer the pumpkin mixture to a food processor or blender and puree in batches, if necessary, until smooth.  Return the soup to the saucepan and heat through.  Taste and adjust seasonings  with salt if necessary.  Ladle into soup bowls.  Serve with reserved chourico and bacon on the side.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.