A Holiday Tart – Pear & Blackberry Filling w/Mae’s Hazelnut Crumble Topping

Nov 23, 2020

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Fall fruits. Oregon crunch, buttery crust and simple to bake.

Yep, that would be this season’s TSLL holiday tart.

I have chosen to share this recipe early (it will be one of three recipes included in the new upcoming holiday episode of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show – look for it on Saturday December 12th) because I think we all could use something lovely, something simple and something full of holiday cheer at the moment.

My own plans for Thanksgiving, while I was already planning on staying in Bend, were dashed as my dear friend who had invited me to a small dinner with her husband contracted Covid19. She is doing well, but will need to be quarantined until the end of the month. Most importantly, her health is improving, and she, like myself, loves a good reason to gather to enjoy good food, so has insisted we will have a delayed turkey dinner later in December. I am at her beck and call. 🙂

So! I am sharing with you a dessert to love, a dessert to make to kick off the winter holiday season deliciously, my Pear and Blackberry Tart with Mae’s Hazelnut Crumble topping.

You “Mae” be wondering who may is ;), and while I shared many years ago, I will happily share again. Mae was our family’s neighbor years and years ago – her home was across the road out in the foothills of Ruby Peak in Wallowa County – and my brother and I would regular hop across the road as young children and hang out with her either in her garden outside or doing projects inside. She was a wonderful cook and baker as well as trusted adult, and she shared her crumb topping with my mother. It has been my go-to for decades, and today I have added two additional ingredients to make it extra special – hazelnuts and Demerara sugar.

Now, you may have noticed, this is not a neat dessert. Partially, this is because I love a rustic tart, but also because I baked it as small tarts, rather than in one large tart pan. Regardless, the flavor is oh my goodness yum. Subtly sweet, luxuriously satiating and absolutely full of comfort goodness.

While pies are the frequent dessert of Thanksgiving, I tend to gravitate toward tarts as they offer the deliciousness without the excess crust, but just enough crust to satiate the love of pastry. 🙂

Now of course, it is the holidays, so a dollop, generously so, of Chantilly Cream and a thick, luscious drizzle of fruit syrup from the residuals of the filling are a must addition (watch below as the tart receives its finishing touch before serving).

As well, the subtle flavor of pear which tends to be the unsung fruit of the autumn season, married with equal parts blackberry (which having six bushes in my garden is all the more reason to harvest and freeze in late September) offers comfort in the subtle sweet taste and a candied crunch topping.

I will admit freely, this tart will likely be enjoyed far more than solely during the winter holidays – a perfect fall tart in general. 🙂 After all, when the blackberries are ready to be enjoyed, fruit tart season goes into full swing in my house and it seems every dessert chosen is a subtle variation of a fruit combo filling.

Now, let’s start baking. Because in under one hour, you can be taking your first bite of your new favorite tart recipe. I exaggerate not at all. 🙂 I do hope you enjoy.

Pear & Blackberry Tart w/Mae’s Hazelnut Crumb Topping

Simply Luxurious
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients
  

Pastry

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fleur de sel
  • 2-3 Tbsp cold water

Filling

  • 2 pears peeled, cored and roughly diced medium to large in size
  • 8-10 ounces fresh blackberries frozen would work as well (defrost and drain first)
  • 5 ounces sugar (@ 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp water

Mae's Hazelnut Crumble Topping

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp caster/granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped roasted (unsalted) hazelnuts I use a food processor or coffee grinder to create a fine chop
  • 1-2 tsp demerara sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 1/4 tsp fleur du sel

Chantilly Cream

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions
 

Pastry

  • Make the pastry in a food processor. Combine the flour, sugar, butter and salt. Pulse until combined and fine crumbs appear. Add the water gradually while the processor is running until the dough just begins to clump together. Stop. Remove from the food processor. Form into a ball, flatten gentle to a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerator for 30-60 minutes (up to a day).

Filling

  • Prepare the pears. Add the diced pears with the sugar and water to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. (have a lid near by as you will use it for the latter half of the cooking). Stirring occasionally, cook without the lid for about 4 minutes. Then bring the pan to a simmer, cover the pan and let cook for about 7 minutes or until the apples are almost soft, but not at all mushy.
  • Add the blackberries, and leave the saucepan uncovered while you cook the combined fruit filling for about 5-8 minutes longer until the filling looks almost purple with lovely juices at the bottom. You want to cook the fruit until it is tender.
  • Once the fruit is tender, remove from the stovetop and set aside while you make the topping (crumble).

Mae's Hazelnut Crumble Topping

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
  • While the butter is melting, mix the dry in gredients in a mixing bowl with your hands: flour, oats, sugars (three), salt and hazelnuts.
  • Once the butter is nearly melted, remove from the stove top but keep in the saucepan. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and mix with a fork until all is incorporated and crumbly. Set aside.

Pastry

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 180 Celsius convection oven or 200 C conventional).
  • While the oven is heating up, roll out the dough. Sprinkle the surface area with both flour and granulated sugar. Roll out the disc to a diameter large enough for your single 8 or 9" tart pan (you can also make 2 small tarts as an alternative).
  • Butter the tart pan to ensure easy removal of the tart from the pan after baking.
  • Place the dough into the tart pan. Gently nudge the dough into the pleated edges of teh trim without tearing. However, you can easily patch with leftover dough. Trim the edges by rolling a rolling pin over the top of the tart pan which will give the edge a nice clean finish.
  • Before adding the filling to the pastry, drain the filling into a separate bowl to rid it of all the juices that will prevent the crust from browning on the bottom nicely. Save the juices and reserve. While the tart is baking, place the juices in a small sauce pan over medium heat and reduce down to a syrupy thickness to be poured on top of the tart and the chantilly cream for serving.
  • Add the filling to the pastry pan. Dot the tart filling with 2-4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (an ingredient additional to above list). Then add the crumble topping generously.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are nicely golden brown.

Chantilly Cream

  • While the tart is baking, make the Chantilly cream and reduced fruit syrup.
  • To make the Chantilly cream, in a mixing bowl with a handmixer or a whisk, place all three ingredients (heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla) and whip until stiff peaks form – about 3-5 minutes). Set aside or refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
  • To make the fruit syrup, place the drained fruit juice from the filling into a small sauce pan. Bring the stovetop to medium heat and heat until the liquid thickens slightly resembling syrup. Remove from the heat and drizzle over the tart and Chantilly cream when serving.
  • Remove the tart from the oven. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve warm with a dollop of Chantilly cream, a drizzle of fruit juice and enjoy with a hot cuppa!

~View more TSLL’s Dessert Recipes here



5 thoughts on “A Holiday Tart – Pear & Blackberry Filling w/Mae’s Hazelnut Crumble Topping

  1. Oh yum! We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in the U.K. but I will definitely be trying this pie recipe.
    I made your morning glory muffins today – and oh my warm from the oven with a smear of butter ! I look forward to another tomorrow for breakfast .
    Happy thanksgiving for later this week, I hope you enjoy it however you celebrate, with the boys

  2. Gosh I sure hope you won’t be lonely on Thanksgiving. Of course, one is never lonely when you have a dog.

    This tart looks divine. I can remember going to my grandfather’s land and picking blackberries as a child. It also had a old time water pump to pump water from the ground. The water was so fresh and cold.

    Have a great evening,

    Stacy

    1. Not worried in the least. Savoring, savoring. I have spent a couple of Thanksgivings on my own, and one was my favorite of all time. It is all about what you make it, and I am excited to make it uniquely special. 🙂 Thank you for thinking of me. xo

  3. Hi, I will be camping this weekend but plan to make this or a variation of it. Quick question, I’m concerned that a half cup of flour will not be enough. Does this make a very small amount of dough? Thanks & love your blog!

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