Monday, December 11, 2006

Two weeks until Christmas...

...and I'm already exhausted. I tend to lean toward hand-made gifts for the holidays. I've already done preserves, homemade liqueurs and homemade hard cider so this year I planned to branch out and make knitted gifts. I am not a quick knitter, though, and what with the posting every day in November thing, I am way behind.
I'm already backed up several posts because I couldn't see my blog over the weekend for some unknown reason. So today I have some photos and a recipe and then I'm going to call it a day so I can get back to the knitting.

I was invited to a brunch on Sunday and when I offered to bring a baked good, the hostess said she was going to make a pear-mincemeat tart. Strangely enough, I had been thinking about making a tart with a jar of mincemeat I had lying around so I offered to make it for her.

The Making of a Tart

This recipe would take a lot more work if you don't have a jar of mince lying around so feel free to buy some from the store or make the mince ahead of time. It will be fine in the fridge for up to a week. I served it with whipped cream with a little Mandarine Napoleon (orange liqueur) mixed in and to glaze it I used homemade apple spice jelly. Unfortunately, I don't know who to credit for this recipe. If you do, please let me know and I will add it.

All the fruit in this tart was sourced locally.

Pear Mincemeat Tart

2 firm pears, such a bosc
¼ cup raisins
1/3 firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup dry white wine
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2/ tablespoons butter
1/ tablespoon brandy

1 ¼ cups flour
1/ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ pound cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cold water

4 to 5 firm pears, such as bosc
½ lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup strained ginger preserves or apple jelly for glaze
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon brandy

Nutmeg for sprinkling

Preparation: FOR THE PEAR MINCEMEAT: Peel, core, and chop pears. In a saucepan combine pears, raisins, brown sugar and wine. Bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, until pears are tender and liquid is reduced by half, about 40 minutes. Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, butter and brandy. Cook 5 more minutes. Mincemeat can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for at least 5 days.

FOR THE PASTRY: Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in cold butter or work with your hands until mixture is the consistency of meal with some pieces of butter still the size of peas. Sprinkle in the cold water and stir until dough just begins to clump together in the bowl. Turn into a mass, using plastic wrap and your hand to help gather dry parts of dough and press them into moistened dough. Wrap dough in plastic and chill at least 20 minutes.

Peel and core pears and cut lengthwise into ¼ to ½ slices. Squeeze lemon juice over slices and toss.

On a floured work surface roll out pastry. Fit dough into a 10 – inch tart pan with a removable bottom and chill 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prick bottom of tart shell thoroughly and spread mincemeat over it. Arrange pear slices in concentric circles, starting from outside edge and overlapping slightly to form 2 or 3 rings of pear slices, using smaller slices toward center. Sprinkle with 1 ½ tablespoons sugar.

Bake in preheated oven until crust is golden brown and pears are tender, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool.

Melt ginger preserves or apple jelly and brush over cooled tart. Whip cream with remaining 1 ½ teaspoons sugar and brandy until it holds soft peaks. Refrigerate cream if not using right away.

SERVING: Serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg.

P.S.- If there are any graphic designers/web designers out there who want to help me create labels and a website for Pamplemousse Preserves, please contact me.


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At 8:05 AM, Blogger allisonmariecat said...

Interesting perspective on pear mince, anonymous. (Yeesh...time to turn comments moderation on!)

The pear mince tart looks and sounds fabulous. Yum. I wish I could design something for you, but I'm not so much with the artsy stuff. I can usually manage to draw a recognizable stick figure, but that's about it :) I have a friend who's really good at that stuff, but he's just started grad school and probably doesn't have time. I'll check, though.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Tea said...

I am loving you lemon banner!

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous lisa F. said...

I can personally attest to the high tastiness factor of this very tart!

At 7:47 AM, Blogger lee said...

Allison- Oh but that last sentence from the spammer is too funny! Yeah, this week the spam has gotten a little out of control. I've resisted but I guess have to start moderating.

Tea- No, I'm loving YOU lemon banner!

Lisa- Thanks! All the desserts were tasty.


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