As I was making this tart for Shauna's Gluten Free Thanksgiving Baking Round Up, I started reflecting on how much I enjoyed being an expat in America around the holidays. I now have an entire second family, a tight group of friends and handful of added occasions to celebrate new traditions and holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc... Even Christmas in B's family is light years away from mine. Starting with the food of course.
I did not grow up around pumpkin pie, pecan pie or double crusted apple pie but like anyone entering another family, expat or not, there are new traditions I have come to love. Some I have been privileged to make my in-laws discover as they let me bring my own creations to their tables. One of these dishes was my grandmother's Tarte Fine Aux Pommes. She was famous for it. And for good reason. One of the simplest and yet most aromatic and satisfying thin crusted pie I have ever had.
She'd start by making a very basic applesauce with heirloom and very tart apples, a bit of cardamom, and lemon. She'd then layer it at the bottom of a very thin pate brisee crust and top the tart with thin slices of fresh apples. It was thin on all counts, rustic and absolutely amazing. The textures, fragrances. That bit of crunch from the crust, the oozing applesauce underneath and the pretty slices of apples on top. A feast for all senses.
When Shauna sent out an email to put together a massive round up of gluten free baking recipes for Thanksgiving, my head started spinning. Wow! Thanksgiving was indeed so close and I felt like I was already one train wagon behind! But it is indeed necessary to start such a big round up filled with so many options for baked treats for the holidays. Whether you are gluten free or need to bake gluten free for someone coming to break bread at your table, that round up provides you with so many delectable options.
Go check it out on Shauna's blog. It's awesome. And tempting. And delicious.
I first thought about making pumpkin pie but it's not our true favorite to celebrate. We tend to like apple pie and tarte tatin, tarte fines and the like. Instead of using apples like my grandmother, I chose one of my favorite Autumn fruit, Forelle pears. They are juicy and fragrant. Cute as can be and one fits in my pocket quite perfectly...
I was going to go with Shauna and Danny's recipe for Asian Pear Tart in their book but the Asian pears were literally the size of mini watermelons so I substituted Forelle pears and instead of making applesauce like Grandma would have, I followed Shauna's directions to use apricot jam. I knew there was a reason I was holding on to that last of homemade apricot jam from this summer! You don't have to go that extent but don't skip on the quality is all I'm sayin'...
Did you see the giveaway going there on her blog? Pretty cool, non?! Guess what?...Shauna is graciously giving one copy of their book to one of you guys! Whether you like stories, recipes, tips, challenges, there is something for everyone. There is love to share. Beautiful words, delicious recipes and inspired photography by Lara Ferrroni. A feast for the senses!
All you have to do is leave a comment on this post between now and Sunday November 21st at midnight Easter time, when my better half will draw a winner at random. No anonymous comment, sign an initial, X or a name so I know you are not a robot! One entry per person. Good luck!
Forelle Pear Tart - Tarte Fine Aux Poires - Adapted from "Asian Pear Tart" in Gluten Free Girl & The Chef.
Notes: I am writing down the recipe as Shauna and Danny wrote it for their book and adding my changes as I go along. The only reason behind my substituting flours was due to our personal preferences and what I have on hand in the pantry.
For the crust:
1/2 cup sorghum flour - I used millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca four - I used corn flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon - I left it out
pinch of salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) frozen butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup ice cold water
6-7 medium Asian pears - I used 10 Forelle pears
1/3 cup sugar - I used 1/4 cup honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped - I used 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 cup apricot jam
Prepare the tart shell:
Sift together the millet flour, corn flour, potato starch and sweet rice flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon if using and salt. Sift into another bowl (I admit I skipped that part).
Grate the frozen butter directly into the dry ingredients with a medium cheese grater. Work with your fingertips until the dough feels like cornmeal or large pieces of sand.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and the water together with a fork. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the liquid, and start gathering the dough together with your hands or a fork. Gather the dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
Butter and flour an 11-inch tart shell (I used 2 rectangular pie shells). Pull the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature a little. Roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to the approximate size of your tart pan. If the dough tears a little, just piece it back together with your fingertips.
Freeze the tart dough for about 30 minutes.
While the dough is freezing, preheat the oven to 375F. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough, fill with dry beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Let cool.
Prepare the filling:
Core and peel the pears and toss them with the honey and cardamom (or vanilla bean and sugar if using).
Spread the apricot jam evenly at the bottom of the pie shell and layer the pear slices on top. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and serve with whipped cream if desired.