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Monday 30 June 2014

Chocolate Frangipane Tart With Poached Pear

I am a big fan of Masterchef Australia and MKR (My Kitchen Rules).  Our local TV does not aired both these cooking competition series but only at the cable TV.  As it only aired one episode everyday or once a week, I just couldn't wait for that long to watch the next episode.  Hence I searched all the episodes in Youtube and Dailymotion.  From there on, I been glued myself watching those amateurs cooking up and presenting those dishes professionally.

Here, today, a post recipe from Masterchef Series 4.

Chocolate Frangipane Tart With Poached Pear

250g plain flour
pinch salt
60g cocoa powder
100g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
iced water

Poached pears
500ml water
250g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
Juice and strips of rind of one lemon
1/3 cup vincotto *
4 medium corella pears, peeled

Chocolate frangipane
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
2 eggs
100g almond meal
1 tablespoon flour
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
100g dark chocolate, melted

1 Preheat oven to 180°C fan forced.

2 For pastry, place flour, salt, cocoa, and sugar in a food processor and process for 30 seconds until mixed. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles crumbs. With the motor running add egg yolk and about 40ml iced water, or just enough for dough to come together.

3 Tip onto a lightly floured surface, bring together to form a flat disc, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate until just firm.

4 For poached pears, place water, sugar, vanilla, lemon peel and vincotto in a deep, small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Peel pears and remove core from base. Place pears, stem-side up in the saucepan and reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer until pears are tender. Add lemon juice to syrup. Remove pears, allow to cool slightly, reserve poaching syrup.  Slice sides of pears in curved lines, starting 2cm from the stem in a curved line down to the base, repeat at 1cm intervals. The pear should be joined at the top and separate at the base, so when you twist the pear the slices will fan out.

5 Roll pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 2mm thick. Butter and flour 4 x 10cm fluted tart  tins with removable bases. Line each tart tin with pastry, trimming the edge to fit the tin. Refrigerate until pastry is firm. Line tarts with baking paper and pastry weights and bake for 15 minutes until firm around the edge, remove pastry weights and paper and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until pastry is set. Remove from oven and set aside.

6 For the chocolate frangipane, cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Fold in almond meal and flour and then melted chocolate.

7 Fill the tart shells with the frangipane, smooth the surface and bake for 20 minutes or until frangipane is cooked. Set aside until firm. Carefully remove the tarts from the tins and place onto serving plates.  Place a poached pear in the centre of each tart, slightly fanned by twisting the pear. Drizzle the tart and plate with a little poaching liquid.

* Vincotto is a cooked wine.  I have used balsamic vinegar as a substitute.  Almost the same.

My mum used to make poached pears for us to indulge way back in my younger years and now she still do it for us.    This is why whenever I see recipe with poached pears, it just remind me of my mum.

Wish I could share this delicious tart with my mum.

                                     Ooops....forgotten to take the innards of the tart.  

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Cherry Friands

When I woke up this morning, cooling air was blowing into the window and dark cloud was blanketing the sky. I was so happy and hoping that it will give a good downpour later.  But it didn't and the sun coming out and the dark cloud slowly disappeared.  OH NOOOOOOO..... another hot day coming!  The temperature for the past weeks already shooting up to 36C-37C!

I wasn't really in the mood to bake and cook nowadays when the weather is scorching hot.  But since this morning the cooling breeze blowing in, so thinking of making a small batch of cakes to indulge in.

Cherry Friands
Recipe adapted from  Cath of Confessions Of A Glutton with changes from raspberry to cherry
Original Recipe from What Katie Ate

5 egg-whites (abt 150g or slightly more)
150g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
90g ground almond meal
185g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting (do adjust to your sweetness taste)
50g plain flour, sifted
12 cherries, pitted and sliced

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Lightly grease the holes of a non-stick friand pan.
Whisk the egg whites for a few seconds just to lightly combine until frothy. There’s no need to whip them into peaks.
Add the butter, ground almonds, icing sugar and flour and beat lightly to combine well.

Pour into the prepared pan, filling each hole two-thirds full. Don’t worry too much about smoothing the tops.

Place the sliced cherries on top of each friand and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of one comes out clean.
Cool and dust the friands with icing sugar and serve warm.

If you have egg whites still storing in your freezer, do give this a try.  It is sooooooo delicious!
I have used the muffin pan instead of friands pan; not going to invest another mould as it is more or less the same.

You can always substitute it with raspberries which the original recipe used, or with strawberries or blueberries.