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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Glazed Fruit Tarts

Fruit tarts make quick, delicious and economical desserts – it is amazing just how far one or two apples can go! Use any fruit in season and glaze them with either apricot jam or redcurrant jelly. Add a little alcohol to apricot glaze like grand marnier, cointreau or brandy and reduced red wine to redcurrant jelly.

I am a sucker for redcurrant jelly with red wine and the marriage of this with pears is just about as good as it gets. I do not bother too much about measurements as you will see below and I buy the puff pastry. I make sure I always have a good supply in the freezer.

Buy pears ready to slice otherwise buy hard pears and cook them in the red wine during the reduction process.

1 x 375gm block of frozen puff pastry
3 pears
1 bottle full bodied red wine
1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 cloves optional
300gm jar redcurrant jelly

Preheat oven: 180C

Grease a tart tin, roll out the pastry, and place the pasty in the tin, use a fork to prick a continuous line about half an inch in from the edge all the way around the pastry. Place the tin in the fridge for half an hour. Pour the red wine into a medium sized saucepan, add spices if using and the pears if necessary and cook until the pears are soft. Remove the pears and the spices and keep reducing the wine until there is about 2 Tablespoons left. When the pears are cool enough, if they needed cooking, slice and arrange overlapping each other on top of the pastry.

Brush the visible edge of the pastry with a little milk or cream and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the pastry is brown and cooked. Remove and cool.

Add the redcurrant jelly to the wine and reheat until it has melted. Brush the glaze all over the tart using it all up. Leave until the glaze has thickened – about ten minutes and serve, sliced in large squares with a big bowl of thick fresh cream or ice cream. The addition of fresh red currants, dipped in egg white and dusted with icing sugar, scattered over the top of the tart looks stunning.

For apricot glaze, excellent with apples and fresh apricots, buy a jar of apricot jam fruit free. If you can only find jam with fruit pieces in it then strain them out. Heat the jam gently, add a splash of your chosen complimentary alcohol then brush the hot glaze over the cooked tart. Toasted almonds scattered over the top add another dimension.

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