Pear Thyme and Hazelnut Tart


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This recipe is not for the faint hearted! When I saw this gorgeous tart in June’s Gourmet Traveller, I knew I had to bake it, however it involves lots of steps so you have to be in the mood.  It is well worth all the work the filling is delicious and the poached pears are so fragrant. My tart ended up being deeper than the gourmet traveller example so had even more of the delicious filling. It is a good idea to start a day or two before and let the pastry rest for a day.

Recipe

Ingredients

for filling

80 gm of chilled butter diced

2 eggs, free range

1 egg yolk

110 gm raw caster sugar

scarped seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean

Finely grated rind of 1/2 orange

1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup of plain flour

2 tbsp créme fraiche

Hazelnut Pastry

80 gm roasted hazelnuts

11/3 cups of plain flour

110 gm of pure icing sugar, sieved

125gm of chilled butter

2 free range eggs

Poached pears

400 ml semi dry white wine, such a riesling

400 gm of raw caster sugar

Thinly peeled rind and juice of 1/2 orange and 1/2 a lemon

3 thyme sprigs

2 cinnamon quills

4 ripe pears (such a josephine) peeled cored and quartered.

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For hazelnut pastry, finely process hazelnuts in a food processor, add flour, sugar and a pink of salt and process to combine. Add butter, process to fine crumbs then add yolks and process until dough comes together. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at  least overnight.

For poached pears, bring wine, sugar, rinds, juices, thyme, cinnamon and 1 litre of water to boil in a saucepan over a medium high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add pears, cover directly with baking paper and weight with a plate, reduce heat to a simmer until tender (25 -30 mins). Remove the 6 pear quarter with a slotted spoon and pat dry with paper towel, halve length wise and set aside. Refrigerate remaining pears in syrup.

Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm-thick round, then line a 23 cm diameter 3 cm tart tin and trim edges. ( I didn’t have a tin with these measurements so I just used another) Refrigerate and rest for an hour. Preheat the oven to 180C and blind bake the tart case until edges are golden. Remove paper and weights and then until light golden and crisp. (5-6 mins)

Meanwhile heat butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until golden brown and fragrant (3-4 mins) pour into a bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs yolks, sugar, vanilla seeds, rind, thyme and a pinch of sale in an electric mixer until fluffy (2-3 minutes) then whisk in flour on a low speed. Whisk in brown butter and créme fraiche and pour into pastry case arrange halved pears and bake until set.(45-50 mins)

Serve warm with a sprig of thyme and serve with extra pears with syrup and creme fraiche.

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Moroccan Carrot Soup from Herbies Spices


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Herbies Spices sent me a lovely package of spices with some low calorie recipes. As you can see by my recipes I am not usually someone who watches my calories however I tried this recipe and thought it was so good that I would put it up on Everydaycook. The best sort of low calorie recipes are the ones that are full of flavour.

It’s the first day on Winter today and a perfect time to start enjoying soups. Full of goodness and so easy to make, they are a family favourite. I often have a big pot of the stove simmering when they arrive home. Have you tried Herbies Spices before? I have often suggested purchasing one of their spice packets, it is a great Australian owned company and they will mail to you. The essential spice for this recipe is Ras El Hanout. It is a blend of Moroccan spices including saffron, cumin, ginger and many more. I use it in my tagines too.

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Here is the recipe for you to enjoy.

 Ingredients

1 banana shallot finely diced

200g of carrots roasted in the oven with a little olive oil

2 cups of stock (vegetable if you want to keep this vegan or vegetarian)

1/2 tsp Olive oil

1/2 tsp Ras el Hanout (or more if you prefer)

2 tbsp of coriander leaves chopped

1 tbsp of greek yoghurt (make this coconut yoghurt is you want the soup to  be vegan)

Method

Place the chopped carrots in the oven on 180 degrees and roast until caramelized.

Sauté shallot in oil over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add roasted carrots and Ras el Hanout and stir for one minute.

Add Stock and reduct to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the carrots are very tender. Then stir in chopped coriander leaves.

Let cool slightly and then puree in a food processor and season to taste. You can serve with a dollop of yoghurt that can be stir through.

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Chocolate, cherry and coconut lava cake


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I can’t tell you how wonderful Brisbane is in Autumn and Winter. Really, it could hardly be called a “winter” we are blessed with sunny days and cool nights. Still warm enough to brave a swim and cool enough to feel hungry and wear a jumper every now and then. This time of year also inspires me to cook and bake more.

We were having some friends over for coffee and cake and I whipped this one up the night before. It really is that easy. If you don’t fancy it being so soft and melty in the middle, just leave it in the oven for a little longer. I used frozen cherries but you could use the real thing if they are in season or canned. Don’t substitute with glacé cherries they are too sweet. This cake is great with ice cream and you can serve it slightly warm if you like.

Recipe

250g unsalted butter

400 g dark chocolate (the best you can afford) with the highest cocoa percentage

2/3 cup of castor sugar

6 eggs

1 cup of almond meal

1 cup of gluten free flour (or normal flour if you’re not following a gluten free diet)

1 1/2 cups of cherries chopped

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Method

Turn the oven on at 170 degrees.

Prepare your spring form cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides.

Melt the butter and chocolate over a pot of steaming water. Being careful not to let any water touch the chocolate.

Chop up the cherries into smaller pieces and leave to drain.

Beat the eggs and sugar until light in colour and fluffy, approx 5 mins.

When the chocolate and butter are melted, stir until cooled and then add to the egg and sugar mixture. Mix together while adding the almond meal and flour. Finally add the cherries.

Pour all of this into the pan and bake for 30 mins, longer if you would like the centre to be firmer. Another 10 mins should do it.

Let cool and then dust with icing sugar and top with a couple of spare cherries.

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