As it’s the Season of the Pear and I have a couple of dozen of them to shift, I’m dabbling in whatever pear-based recipes I can find. Today was “Pear and blueberry tarts” and “Pear and Black Pudding Pies”.
The recipe for Pear and blueberry tarts was an adaption of one from “Long Nights and Log Fires: Warming Comfort Food for Family and Friends“, as featured in a 2009 edition of the Candis magazine. Book seems to be £1.92 on Amazon. Hmmm…
Cooking the pears and blueberries in the syrup was easy enough. I rolled out a block of puff pastry as I didn’t have a sheet of the ready-rolled and cut it into 6 instead of 4 as there seemed to be more area than I’d expect from a roll. Each square was piled up with syrupy fruit and put into the oven. The syrup and fruit left in the saucepan was incredibly tasty and didn’t go to waste (on top of a couple of scoops of ice cream). Meanwhile, in the oven, it became apparent that there was a LOT of moisture in the topping and purple puddles started forming. So I ended up with cooked fruit on uncooked, flat pastry squares which had puffed up only at those edges which weren’t weighed down with fruit. Would have probably worked if I’d let the fruit drain more before putting on the pastry and maybe not so much of it. Also, maybe you can’t do a straight swap of pears for apples without compensating in some way. I’ll give my effort 3 out of 10.
Next was an attempt at making pear and black pudding pies, as demonstrated on the Food Network by Andy Bates. This recipe looked so simple that I really thought I had a good chance of success. And pouring boiling lard and water into flour to make a dough? Why didn’t I know this existed? Even I could do that, surely.
The mixture was easy enough – pork mince, black pudding, pear, sage and nutmeg. Still had some fresh sage leaves left over from another recipe – weird chopping up leaves instead of using the dried stuff in jars.
The dough rolled out well and was soon wrapping balls of filling. I cut heart-shapes out of the spare pastry to stick on the top and made sure to create little steam vents.
Don’t these look lovely? I think I should stop writing and finish the blog post so you think I’m amazing.
I’d put the pies on a sheet of foil and noticed toward the end of the cooking time that there was a puddle around the base of each pie. When I tried to lift each pie, the base would be soggy and stuck to the foil. To try and rectify this, I peeled the bases off the foil and stuck them on the now-upside-down pies for more time in the oven to dry out, which seemed to help.
And, finally, time to test the pies by cutting one open. After an hour in the oven, the pastry still didn’t look cooked through on the top and sides. Also, just tasted like a sausage roll. Most disappointing. Visually better than the tarts so 5/10.
1 – Try to keep the pastry consistent in thickness when wrapping the filling balls. The heart-shapes should have been much thinner as they didn’t help in this regard.
2 – Make more (or larger) steam vents so that, when the one you make blocks up, the moisture isn’t trapped inside the pie.