Normandy Pear Tart

Pears encased in a rich walnut pastry and topped with whipped cream and nuts, Normandy Pear Tart is served cold and is absolutely delicious.

10 oz. flour

½ teaspoon salt

3 oz. butter, cut into walnut-sized pieces

2 oz. vegetable fat

4 oz. plus

2 tablespoons castor sugar

I2 oz. walnuts, finely chopped

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons iced water

1 egg white, lightly beaten

2 oz. sugar

5 fl. oz. water

4 large pears, peeled, halved and cored

5 fl. oz. double cream , stiffly whipped

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

First make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and the vegetable fat and cut them into small pieces with a table knife. Rub the fats into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse bread-crumbs. Mix in 4 ounces of the sugar and the finely chopped walnuts.

Add the egg yolks with a spoonful of the water and mix it in with the knife. With your hands, mix and knead the dough until it is smooth. Add more water if the dough is too dry. Wrap the dough in greaseproof or waxed paper and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the filling. In a medium-sized saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and boil the syrup for 4 minutes.

Add the pear halves, reduce the heat to low and simmer the pears for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are tender but still firm. Remove the pan from the heat. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375 F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).

On a lightly floured board, roll out two-thirds of the dough into a circle large enough to line a 9-inch flan ring. Lift the dough on the rolling pin and lay it over the flan ring. Gently case the dough into the ring. Trim off any excess dough.

With a slotted spoon, remove the pears from the pan. Arrange the pear halves, narrow ends towards the middle and cut sides down, in the dough case. Dampen the edges of the dough.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the remaining dough into a circle large enough to fit over the top of the tart. Using a 3-inch pastry cutter, cut a hole in the centre of the dough circle. Discard the small circle of dough. Lift the dough on the rolling pin and lay it over the tart. Using your fingers, gently press the dough edges together. Trim off any excess dough.

With a pastry brush, brush the top of Melting walnut pastry and tender pears combine to make Normandy Pear Tart a delightful dessert. Serve it with extra cream if you like. the dough with the egg white and dust with the remaining 2 tablespoons of castor sugar.

Place the tart in the top of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the pastry is firm to the touch.

Remove the tart from the oven and set it aside to cool completely. When it is cold, carefully remove the tart from the flan ring.

Spoon the whipped cream into the centre of the tart and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts. Serve at once.