Tag Archives: fall desserts

Spiced Pear Tart 

My kids love to eat any kind of pears ever since they were little, Anjou, Barlett, or Asian. Pears are all very sweet and tasty no matter how you eat them. You can enjoy them raw, cook, bake, poach, etc. They are also a good source of fibre and vitamin C. It’s pretty hard not to love them ! Fall is the season for pears, so I used some Barlett pears and made this Spiced Pear Tart. I spiced up a basic short crust  for the tart shell. The dough freezes well, so you can make it ahead of time. It can also turn into yummy cookies ! So don’t throw away the trimmings after you make the tarts. Just gather them together, roll it, cut it with cookie cutters and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350°F ! I baked mine into leaves and used them as garnish ! You can adjust the amount of spices used according to your taste, both in the tart shell and the fillings. I actually would prefer a bit spicier, but my daughter said this is perfect for her palate. Well, I have to listen to my little boss ! The tarts taste delicious on their own, but my little boss likes them with vanilla ice cream, even better !  

 

Makes four 4-inch tarts or eight 2-inch mini tarts    

For the tart shell 

  • 120 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 
  • 75 g granulated sugar 
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 180 g cake and pastry flour 
  • 3 g ground ginger 
  • 2 g ground cinnamon 
  • Pinch of cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg 

For the fillings 

  • About 3-4 pears (wash, peel, core and cut into chunks)
  • 60 g brown sugar 
  • 3 g ground ginger 
  • 3 g ground cinnamon 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 

For the crust 

  • 60 g quick oats 
  • 30 g all-purpose flour 
  • 30 g brown sugar 
  • 30 g unsalted butter, melted 
  1. To make the tart shells, sift together flour and spices 
  2. Mix together cold butter and sugar using a wooden spoon until blended
  3. Mix in egg yolks
  4. Add flour mixture all at once, mix, then transfer onto a surface and gently knead dough together until everything just combined
  5. Wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF
  7. Knead dough until pliable
  8. Roll dough out to about 1/8 inch in thickness on a floured surface, dock with a fork
  9. Place inside slightly greased tart molds, trim off excess  
  10. Bake for about 8 minutes, let cool
  11. Meanwhile, prepare the fillings by mixing pear chunks with brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla 
  12. Spoon into cooled tart shell 
  13. Mix all crust ingredients together and spoon on top of fillings
  14. Bake at 350ºF for about 25 minutes until golden 
  15. Serve warm 

 

 

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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Caramel Sauce 

Fall

October is a busy baking month for me. Thanksgiving, my daughter’s birthday, bake sale, Halloween…. all of them are happening this month. I am not complaining, in fact, I am enjoying it . Apples, pumpkins, corn, the spices, the Halloween decorations ….the aroma, the colours, the fun, I love them all ! For this Thanksgiving, I made a pumpkin cheesecake topped with maple caramel sauce. It is crunchy, creamy, sweet and a little spicy…..just delicious ! And it’s fairly easy to make ! It’s a great alternative to pumpkin pie.

Makes one 6-inch cake

For the crust

  • 120 g ginger snaps
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the fillings

  • 250 g soft cream cheese
  • 120 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 120 g pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the maple caramel

  • 120 ml maple syrup
  • 15 g unsalted butter
  • 60 mL heavy or whipping cream

Pumpkin Cheesecake

To prepare the crust

  1. Crush ginger cookies into fine crumbs
  2. Mix crumbs with melted butter, press firmly into bottom of a spring-form pan or a cake ring (if you use a cake ring like I did, you have to wrap the bottom with parchment paper as it is bottomless)
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes, let cool

To prepare the cheesecake

  1. When crust is cooled, wrap bottom of cake pan with 2 layers of aluminium foil and place on a rimmed baking tray
  2. Turn oven down to 325ºF
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth
  4. Add flour, spices, salt,pumpkin puree and vanilla
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, mix until just blended, do not overmix
  6. Pour batter on top of crust and place the baking tray into the oven
  7. Pour about one inch of hot water into baking tray and bake for about 40-45 minutes (the top should be a little jiggly, do not overbake)
  8. Turn oven off, leave cheesecake inside oven with door ajar for another hour to cool gradually
  9. Take cake out, let cool at room temperature completely, then refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours

To prepare maple caramel

  1. Melt butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat
  2. Add maple syrup, when boil, turn heat down and simmer for about 3 minutes until thicken
  3. Add cream, stirring occasionally and continue to simmer until thick

When cheesecake is set, serve with maple caramel and whipped cream

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Mini Apple Pie

Can’t believe fall is already here ! I love fall, I love the colours and all the tasty goodies…..apple pies, apple cider, pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice latte, squash soup, etc.   And of course the Halloween candies !  Hey, candies are not just for kids,  for adults too……OK, Let’s get back to the pie first !  

Makes two 4+1/2 inch pies

For the crust

  • 1+1/2 cup (225g) pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100 g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
  • 110-120 mL cold water
  1. Mix flour and salt 
  2. Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, butter chunks should be about the size of a pea
  3. Add cold water, mix gently
  4. Transfer onto a floured work surface and press dough together to form a ball (Do not knead, dough should contain lumps of butter)
  5. Cut dough in half, wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight

In order to make a flaky pie crust, your butter and water has to be cold, very cold. This will prevent the butter from melting when you are working with the dough. When the pie is baked, the butter will melt, water inside the butter will evaporate giving its flaky texture.  I used all butter because I love the flavour.  You can use half butter, half shortening to make the pie more tender but shortening doesn’t have any flavour.  So, it’s your choice.   

For the fillings

  • 2 apples
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of lemon zest
  1. Wash, peel and core apples. Cut into slices or chunks
  2. Mix apples with all other ingredients

To make the pie

  1. Preheat oven to 380 ºF
  2. On a floured work surface, roll and flatten 2/3 of one dough to fit pie tin
  3. Fill with apple fillings
  4. Brush rims with water
  5. Roll the other 1/3 of the dough to make top of pie, trim and decorate, leaving at least one hole on top to vent
  6. Brush top with melted butter
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes

This is a modified recipe from the one I learned at my pastry course.  Original recipe by Chef Marco at Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver