Crunchy and sweet, hazelnuts or cobnuts partner apples and pears perfectly in this autumnal, nutty, treacly tart.

Serves
8

Preparation

20min

Cooking

50min

Skill level

Easy
By
Average: 2.6 (43 votes)
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Ingredients

Sweet shortcrust pastry

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1½ tbsp icing sugar
  • 100 g cold unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1cm dice
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 30 ml cold water

Filling

  • 200 g stoned dates, roughly chopped
  • 150 ml full cream (whole) milk
  • 3 ripe medium pears (500 g in total)
  • 50 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100 g light muscovado sugar
  • 1½ tbsp treacle
  • 100 g shelled cobnuts (see Note) or hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Toffee sauce

  • 200 g light muscovado sugar
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 250 ml thick (double) cream

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Resting time: at least 15 minutes

Soaking time: 30 minutes

1. To make the pastry, mix the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it in lightly with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, do this in a food processor or a mixer and then transfer to a bowl.

2. Mix the egg with the lemon juice and water. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mix. Using a table knife, work the liquid into the flour to bring the pastry together. If it seems too dry, add a splash more water. When the dough begins to stick together, use your hands to gently knead it into a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

3. For the filling, put the chopped dates and milk in a pan. Bring to the boil, and then set aside for 30 minutes to soak.

4. To make the toffee sauce, heat the sugar, butter and cream together in a pan over a low heat until melted and smooth, then bring to a simmer and let bubble for 5 minutes to thicken. Leave to cool.

5. Heat your oven to 180°C/gas 4 and put in a baking tray to warm up. Have ready a 25cm fluted tart tin, 3.5cm deep.

6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line the tart tin. Prick the base with a fork. Peel, quarter and core the pears; slice each quarter in two. Arrange in a circular pattern in the tart case. Drizzle over 3 tbsp of the toffee sauce and put in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the filling.

7. Mash the date mixture to a coarse purée with a potato masher. Tip it into a bowl with the softened butter, vanilla, flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground almonds, eggs, sugar and treacle. Whisk together with an electric whisk until just combined. Stir in the chopped nuts. Spoon the mixture over the pears in the pastry case, spreading it out evenly.

8. Bake the tart on the hot tray for 40–45 minutes, until the filling is well risen and browned. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.

9. Serve the tart warm, with clotted cream or ice cream and the rest of the toffee sauce.

 

Note

• In Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds, Paul makes this tart with Kentish cobnuts, a relative of the hazelnut we use in Australia, which also work very well in this rich dessert.