Autumnal fruity tart…
The Scottish skies were dark and foreboding, the rain relentlessly lashed down and the wind whipped across the hills. Not my favourite traveling weather but it would certainly add a challenge to my journey. Heading north from Biggar to Perthshire I had stopped at William Ovens butchers to collect my meat.
Butcher 1 says
“Be careful now Philippa with wind like this you’ll be wanting to avoid the Forth Road Bridge, turn off the road before you get to the … “
and off he went explain to me some clever route I could take.
I nodded and thanked Butcher 1 for his help and concerns and agreed it sounded sensible to avoid the bridge.
Then as I was paying the bill Butcher 2 quietly says
“Aye you will want to be careful Philippa, but if I were ye I would take the 3rd road after the turn then head west before you re-join the road at …….”
and he spieled off another route I should take
I nodded and thanked Butcher 2 for his help and concerns (but quietly was feeling a little confused and none the wiser as to how to get there).
Then Butcher 3 offered to take the boxes of meat to the car.
“ Now, now Philippa, you don’t want to be taking those routes, you should take the bridge but turn off after you reach….
And then I got route number three.
“Ring us if you get lost !” They chorused as I closed the car door and drove off.
“Crikey”! I thought and pulled up out of their sight and turned on my trusty sat nav, who although I am convinced always takes me different routes just to keep me reliant on it and occasionally freaks out in remote locations, and is not that keen on going anywhere too hot, it always gets me there one way and/or another.
As I headed north the weather began to clear so the drive was not that bad and as the countryside was in its full Autumnal glory it was all rather stunning and enjoyable.
Arriving at the house it was straight into action. I was cooking for a weekend pheasant shoot for 10 guests; breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea and 4 course suppers plus canapés and cocktails. Out of the car came the 10 dozen eggs,12 packs of butter along with the kilos of meat, cheese and you will be glad to hear 9 big boxes of fruit and vegetables as lots of side dishes and big interesting salads had been requested.
One of the things I love about cooking for this client is that although they have probably been hosting these sorts of weekends before they had even learnt to walk they are not afraid to try something new and step away from tradition whilst still keeping great style. We had planned amongst other things; a curry night, a Middle Eastern feast, a pulled pork lunch and some American style breakfasts. I hoped the guests would arrive hungry…
With the nippy November air, some bracing outdoor sport and partying from dawn to dusk the guests did have a great appetite. Yet again I was impressed by the stylish guests; the ladies coming in from their days shooting, swapping their Land Rovers and Labradors for Loubtoutin’s and Lacroix, and the gents discarding theirshooting sticks and spaniels in favour of smoking jackets and spats (ok I am exaggerating about the spats). It was a grand weekend.
For this postcard recipe I am going to give you the tasty Autumnal fruit tart I served for dessert on Saturday lunch, its a delicious way to use the abundant amount of apples and pears that seem to be stacked in everyone’s cellars at the moment. It also is quite a light dessert which is perfect if you have several days of feasting and working your way through 10 dozen eggs and 12 packs of butter in a weekend….
I’m driving; A4 Audi.
I learnt; 12 packs of butter are easier than you think to go through.
Spaniels fought with for a space next to the Aga; 2
Every home should have; a butlers pantry.
Apple and Pear Tart
This is a great light Autumnal dessert it has a pear puree underneath then the baked slices of apples on top.
Serves 10 – 12
1 block ready rolled all butter puff pastry
4 – 6 ripe pears (depending on size)
4 – 6 apples (depending on size)
4 tbsp. Demerara sugar
1 tsp. sugar
75 g salted butter
½ nutmeg grated.
pre-heat the oven to 180°C
Unroll the pastry and put it on a flat baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Lightly score the entire sheet in a 1 inch diamond pattern (being careful not to cut all the way through)
Peel the pears and chop into chunks, discarding the core.
Cook the pears in a saucepan with 1 tbsp. of the sugar and the grated nutmeg.
Cook until soft then blitz to a smooth puree. *
Cool a little then smear all over the puff pastry.
Peel and thinly slice the apples into thin crescents (discarding the core)
Layer in lines across the puree.
Dot the butter over the tart and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar and the cinnamon
Bake for 30 – 40 mins until golden.
Serve warm or cold with something creamy eg. calvados ice cream, yogurt, crème fraiche or of course cream!
* When I first made this dish I whizzed up poached pears that I had used for something else, which worked out perfectly. When cooking the pears in a saucepan I had to cook it a fairly long time to evaporate a lot of the juice the ripe pears produced so you have to judge it for your self.
Next postcard from the magnificent Cawdor estate in the Highlands.