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My Golden Pear

Saturday, 27 July 2013


These blueberry and thyme tarts were inspired by nothing more than my love for all things purple.  I had just seen Jen's gorgeous blackcurrant & vanilla eclairs and decided I wanted to make something as colourful and vibrant and came up with these little tarts.  There wasn't much of the thyme flavour noticeable so I would probably try adding a bit more next time.  The blueberry curd is finger licking good and would look and taste lovely on any sponge cake or just served with clotted cream and scones. 


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: 6 individual tarts
  • 250g fresh blueberries
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 50g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 6 shortcrust pastry cases
  • 80mls whipping cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Put the blueberries, thyme, lemon juice and a teaspoon of water into a pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes until the fruit is very soft.
  3. Remove from the heat and push the fruit through a sieve set over a bowl to extract as much juice as possible.
  4. Put the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and blueberry juice into a pan and heat until the butter has fully melted.
  5. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool down slightly before adding the beaten eggs.
  6. Return to the heat and keep stirring for 20 - 25 minutes until thickened. The mixture will thicken further once cooled down.
  7. I prefer to strain through a sieve once thickened just to remove any lumps.
  8. Whip the cream until soft peak stage.
  9. Add the blueberry curd to the cream (reserving some curd for decoration) and mix well.
  10. Pour into the tart cases and smooth the tops.
  11. Stir some of the reserved curd through the mixture to decorate.
  12. Refrigerate until set.
I am entering these into this months Tea Time Treats challenge hosted alternately by Karen at Lavender & Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked as this months challenge is fresh fruit.

Written by : Angela Darroch

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Thursday, 27 June 2013


This month's Classic French challenge is a French fruit tart.  Now, in all the times I have visited France I don't think I have ever been tempted to buy one of those glossy, sweet tarts that seem to adorn every French patisserie window that you pass.  I think it is the thought of cold custard that has always put me off.  So when Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes set the challenge I decided to give them a go.  They were quite easy to make and would make a delicious dessert that would go well with most menus.  They were not overly sweet and were very light.


Yield: 6 small individual tarts
  • 6 individual sweet shortcrust pastry cases (recipe here)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 15g plain flour
  • 15g cornflour
  • 350ml full cream milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 600g fresh strawberries
  • 1 tblsp seedless strawberry jam
Cooking Directions
  1. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add them, along with the pod, to the milk in a saucepan. Bring almost to the boil, being careful not to let it burn.
  2. Remove the milk from the heat, strain and set to one side.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light in colour.
  4. Add in the flour and cornflour and mix well.
  5. Slowly pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time.
  6. Return the mixture back to the pan and bring back to the boil and simmer for one minute, whisking continuously, or until smooth.
  7. Remove from the heat and cover with wax paper pressed directly against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin forming.
  8. Refrigerate until chilled.
  9. To assemble the tarts - fill the pastry cases about 3/4 full with pastry cream and decorate the top with whole, fresh strawberries or sliced as I have done.
  10. To glaze the tarts - Heat the strawberry jam until just melted and brush lightly over the strawberries.

Notes :

When making custard I always use a balloon whisk to stir the mixture whilst it is in the pan.  This prevents any lumps forming but remember to not use your best non stick pans if you do this.  I don't know how many pans I have ruined this way!

If you think the custard has turned a bit lumpy then pour through a sieve and your problem is solved.

If you want to prepare the tarts well in advance it is probably best to seal the pastry cases before you add the pastry cream.  Brush the baked cases lightly with some egg white and then pop back in the oven for 1 minute to seal.  This should prevent a soggy bottom.

Written by Angela Darroch

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Sunday, 17 February 2013


This month’s Classic French challenge over on Blue Kitchen Bakes  is chocolate ganache.  I always find this incredibly rich so this time I decided to add a bit of raspberry sauce to the bottom of each tart to counteract the richness.  I thickened my normal raspberry sauce with a touch of cornflour to stop it running out once we cut into the tarts and it worked well.  There is nothing difficult about making the ganache and it is really quick to prepare.  The only time consuming process to these delicious tarts is making your own pastry but if you are short of time then a good quality store bought pastry would speed the process up giving you an elegant and decadent dessert in just over half an hour. 


Prep time: 2 hours, including resting time for pastry shells
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 2hrs, 25 minutes
Yield: 6 individual tarts
  • Sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 150ml double cream
  • 190g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 300g raspberries
  • 2 tblsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 deg C.
  2. Make up one batch of sweet shortcrust pastry and prepare 6 small individual tart cases.
  3. Bake blind for 15 minutes.  Remove paper and baking beans and return to oven for a further 5 - 10 minutes to dry out.
  4. To prepare raspberry coulis, puree raspberries (leave some back for decoration), icing sugar and lemon juice using a stick blender.
  5. Pour through a sieve to remove all seeds.
  6. If you prefer the raspberry sauce to be slightly thicker you can mix 1 tsp of cornflour with some of the puree. Heat remaining puree in a saucepan and then stir in the cornflour mixture and stir until thickened.
  7. Set to one side.
  8. To make the chocolate ganache, heat the cream in a saucepan until just boiling.
  9. Add the chopped chocolate and stir with a spatula until fully melted and smooth.
  10. Remove from heat and leave for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
  11. To assemble tarts, spoon some raspberry coulis into the bottom of each pastry shell.
  12. Fill the shells with chocolate ganache ensuring a nice smooth finish on top.
  13. Decorate with whole raspberries.
  14. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe by Angela Darroch 


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Friday, 29 June 2012


Every year we set off to France for our summer break with my Mum and Dad and every year I say I am going to eat sensibly.  What happens - my Mum dishes up her famous lemon fridge tart and all my resolve goes out the window and it is pretty much down hill from that moment. 

This fridge tart is very sweet but if you serve it with a raspberry sauce and some dark chocolate it is pure heaven.  It freezes beautifully - I cut mine into portion sizes and then open freeze until just frozen.  Once frozen, pack into a Tupperware dish and keep in the freezer until needed.  I decorate mine once it has defrosted and voila you have a super quick dessert for those unexpected guests.


For the printable version - click here

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Total time: 15 minutes plus time in the refrigerator

Yield: 12 servings (you only need a small piece)

  • 1 tin condensed milk (397g)
  • 200 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 250g coffee creamer
  • 30 ml water
  • 250g Tennis biscuits
Cooking Directions
  1.  Pour the condensed milk and lemon juice into a bowl and mix together until thick.
  2. In another bowl put the coffee creamer, water and some of the condensed milk mixture and mix immediately until well combined.
  3. Add the rest of the condensed milk mixture and beat again until well combined.
  4. Line a tin - roughly 12" x 6" with one layer of biscuits.
  5. Pour half the condensed milk mixture on top of the biscuits and spread out evenly.
  6. Add another layer of biscuits.
  7. Add the rest of the condensed milk mixture and spread out evenly.
  8. Place in the refrigerator for at least one day.
  9. To serve - decorate with raspberry sauce and chocolate curls.
""Note""  I think Tennis biscuits are typically a South African biscuit.  In the UK I use 'Nice' biscuits which are very similar.  They are a butter biscuit with a hint of coconut in them.

    Written by : Angela Darroch

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Monday, 18 June 2012


I can happily spend hours in the kitchen working on a dish but like anything in life there are a few things which I just do not enjoy doing.  No. 1 on the list has to be peeling potatoes - definitely one for hubby to deal with.  No. 2 is making pastry cases.  I find it so stressful especially when it comes to making a rich shortcrust pastry.  You have to get the pastry really thin so that it is not too doughy and then of course it tears just as you drop it into the tin.  Of course you can patch it up but it never looks the same.  The next problem is getting it to dry out nicely without going too brown and of course last but not least is getting it out of the tin without breaking the edges.  No, no, no - life is too short to make your own pastry cases.  Thankfully there is a good selection of ready made ones in the shops for cowards like me.  Of course if you are a domestic goddess and prefer to make your own then this tart requires a rich shortcrust pastry case.

 I did in fact make the pastry case for my lemon tart and all was going well until I went to fill the case with the filling.  Yup - not enough filling - my tin was too deep.  I went ahead and baked the tart and when it had cooled slightly I went round the edge very carefully with a pair of kitchen scissors and trimmed down to the filling edge. 

This is not a traditional lemon tart but only because I find them too eggy (not a real word but very descriptive)?  It is nevertheless a lovely tart and very tangy and very easy.  No need to worry about the egg curdling or splitting.  It can be served plain with some icing sugar dusted over the top. Alternatively you can fancy it up a bit for a special dinner by caramelising some caster sugar on the top and serving with some sharp raspberry coulis on the side.


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings
  • 1 shallow 20cm sweet shortcrust pastry case
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 397g tin of condensed milk
  • Rind from 3 lemons
  • 160 ml fresh lemon juice, strained
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large bowl pour condensed milk, rind and lemon juice onto egg yolks.
  2. Mix well and pour into prepared pastry case.
  3. Bake at 180°C (350° F) for 30 minutes or until just set.
To caramelise the top

Cut the tart into slices.
Sprinkle with caster sugar
Using a cooks blowtorch, caramelise the sugar
Sprinkle another layer of caster sugar over the top
Caramelise again.

Do not refrigerate after this step as the sugar will soften.

Written by : Angela Darroch

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