Warm pears and candied walnuts covered with a light ginger-infused sponge.
Christmas is coming as if you needed reminding. But just in case you do then cook this tart. When I opened the oven to check how it was coming along a warm scent of gently baking spices wafted through the kitchen. Roasting nuts, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. A combination of warm Christmas smells immediately reminded me that the festive season is fast approaching.
This tart might remind you of a Tarte Tatin or a pineapple upside-down cake. You make caramel and sit the pears in it just like you were going to make Tarte Tatin. Then pour the spice-infused ginger sponge over the top of the caramelised fruit before you bake it. So the bottom is actually the top like the classic pineapple upside-down cake.
That’s about as complicated as this recipe gets. The rest is simple. Mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ones…then mix them both together. You don’t even need to get your mixer out. No heavy beating is required and you can do it all by hand.
Simple as it sounds I still managed to cock this up. I was given this recipe by a sous chef in a restaurant i worked at many years ago. I couldn’t get the hang of making it and despite 3 or 4 tries it wouldn’t rise properly for me.
The raising agent in the recipe I was given by the boss was bicarbonate of soda. So I used plain old bread soda. However, bread soda needs an acid in the form of buttermilk, yoghurt or vinegar to produce a rise. This recipe has none of these. What I should have used was a baking powder which has both bicarbonates of soda and acid in the form of cream of tartar which produces co2 and gives the tart the lift it needs.
It took me a while to work this out though. I just thought I’d forgotten to put the raising agent in and made it exactly the same way the next time. This left me confused and cursing my own incompetence. I really hate having to do the same job twice and now I was going to have to do it a third time.
I figured out what was wrong when I asked one of the other guys in the kitchen to make it. He used baking powder and it worked perfectly. The sous chef would probably blame me for the mistake but I blame his recipe.
In the restaurant, we used to serve this with plain homemade vanilla ice cream. The cold ice cream is a great accompaniment for the moist warm ginger sponge, soft pears, and candied walnuts.
My own favourite way to have it is with a dollop of creme fraiche. Its slight tartness works wonderfully well with the sweetness from the treacle in the tart and the crispy walnuts. Serve it warm about 10 to 15 minutes after you take it from the oven Or it can be reheated the next day in the microwave without affecting its quality.
This is a warm and comforting pudding to eat especially on cold winter days and if it’s just too frosty for ice cream then go with the creme fraiche. It’s very Moorish and 1 slice is never enough.Print
You’ll need an 8 inch cake tin to make this tart
for the topping
- 75g (3oz) demerara sugar
- 60g (2.5oz) butter
- 10 walnuts
- 3 pears (peeled and halved)
for the ginger bread
- 120g (4.5oz) flour
- half a teaspoon of baking powder
- quarter teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ginger
- quarter teaspoon of nutmeg
- 80g (3oz) dark brown sugar
- 40g (1.5oz) treacle
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 120ml (half cup) milk
- 60g (2.5oz) melted butter
- pre-heat your oven to 160f / 315f
- First you’ve got to make the topping for the tart as this goes in the bottom of the tin. Melt the butter then add the water and sugar. Bring the mix up to the boil and cook it till its a deep brown colour this normally takes about 3 minutes,
- Pour the hot caramel into the bottom of a your well greased cake tin and arrange the pears and walnuts around the tin in a circle. Make it look good as this will be the top of the tart when you cook and turn it out.
- Next, in a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices
- Than beat together the dark brown sugar, treacle, beaten egg, milk, and melted butter. Make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
- Than simply mix your wet ingredients into the dry. Again beat well to insure everything is thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour the gingerbread mix over the pears, walnuts, and caramel and bake your tart in the preheated oven @160c / 315f for about 40 minutes.
- To test your tart to see if its cooked simply pierce the center with a skewer or knife and if it comes out clean then you know its ready.
- Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before you serve it.