I left a couple of ripe pears and apples in the fridge while I was away over Christmas, and when I returned they were just a little past their best. I’d invited 2 of The Nieces to lunch yesterday, so Yorkshire pudding was obviously on the menu. Because of that, the plain flour was already out of the cupboard. So this tart happened.
You’ll need a 25cm/9 in shallow cake/tart tin and an oven pre-heated to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 (I turned the oven down after making the Yorkshire puddings and popped the tart in there while we were eating the roast). You will also need a rolling pin which is and has always been one of my favourite kitchen tools.
Of course, you can buy pre-prepared sweet shortcrust pastry, but I love mixing and rolling pastry; it reminds me of making jam tarts as a child, standing on a chair to reach the kitchen counter. I can reach the counter without a chair now. Just.
200g plain flour
100g butter cut into small pieces
20g caster sugar
pinch of salt
about 3 tablespoons cold water
small pinch of cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl.
Add the butter and rub it thoroughly into the flour/sugar. (You need some patience to do this properly, so I suggest music on the sound system rather than political commentary or news on the radio.)
Add water, stirring with a knife, until you can form the pastry into a ball with your (very clean!) hands.
Place the ball of pastry on a floured surface and roll it to make a thin circle big enough to line the tin. (Again, not a good idea to have news on the radio when you have a rolling pin in your hands.)
If you have pastry left over you can wrap it in cling film and freeze it, or you can make a few of those jam tarts.
Peel the apples (you don’t need to peel the pears as the skin is thinner). Slice the apples and pears into 1 cm thick discs and cut out the cores.
Lay the fruit discs on the pastry base. (I used the larger discs on the outside and the small ones towards the centre, and alternated pear and apple).
Shake a little cinnamon over the fruit, then squeeze on a little lemon juice and finally drizzle the maple syrup over the fruit.
Place in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.
We ate it on its own, but it would be lovely with some vanilla ice cream or single cream.