Dad just bought another box of pears at the market for $2! I know, it is a bit crazy isn’t it? Now we have a surplus of pears and I literally just finished making a batch of pear roll ups and I am stocked up on all my sauces… Too many pears and they are all ripening really fast! I decided to try make an apple pie but just substitute out the apple and put pears in instead. It worked out pretty well! I am not great with following recipes so I winged it this time around but here is the gist of it. I took a recipe for the pastry from the Taste.com.au website which was a plus because I could skip using the egg whites which is what my boyfriend thinks makes his hands itchy.
125g nuttelex, chilled and cubed (I used butter for this one)
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
A bit less than 1/4 cup cold water
8-9 small ripe pears (or enough to fill your pastry), peeled, cored and diced.
1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (adjust to taste)
Place flours, sugar and nuttelex in a food processor. Pulse for a bit and then blend on low till it resembles bread crumbs. You might need to stop and mix up the flour at the bottom.
Add the egg yolk and water and process till it forms a dough.
Take it out and knead into a ball and then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes till firm.
Peel your pears and dice. If they are really ripe and soft like mine, then dice into larger cubes so they don’t turn into mush. If they are still a little firm still then go smaller so they can cook a bit when you bake the pie. If you have the type of pears that are hard then you will need to dice and then cook them on the stove till they are tender, just add a touch of water into the saucepan to avoid burning.
Add the citric acid to the pears and mix well.
When the dough is cooled take 2/3 of the mix and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper till it is about an inch bigger than your tart tin. Peel off the paper every now and again to avoid deep cracks and fix cracks as you go.
When it is big enough roll it onto your rolling pin and roll it on top of your tin. Push it in and fix up the edges.
Put the pear mix into the pastry shell, don’t put any of the juice at the bottom to avoid a soggy pastry.
Now roll out the last 1/3 of the dough cut into thin strips with a knife of a pizza cutter and criss-cross them on the top of the pie. Apply pressure to stick the dough together at intersections and the edge of the pastry.
If you want, you can brush the top of the pastry with the egg white or melted butter. I skipped this so it didn’t brown as much.
Bake in the oven at 180°C for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Allow to cool and serve warm!
Serve with some vanilla custard or whipped cream. If we had Rice Dream ice cream, that would be perfect… Or maybe you could dust with some powdered sugar.
My parents and I found it tasted exactly like apple pie! Hope you enjoy it!
I am so excited to write this post today! Just when I got back from overseas I went to the market with my dad to stock up on food since I had been away for 6 weeks and nothing was left in the house that was failsafe. We came home with a box of pears for $5! Yep, $5. Of course all the pears were nearly ripe so what to do with all the spoils and not enough tummy space for it? You find ways of preserving it, of which one of the ways to preserve fruit is to “leather”. Essentially it is to cook the fruit down to a pulp and then dehydrate it. When you dehydrate food you discourage yeast and bacterial growth because they need water to survive.
I found lots of posts on how to leather fruits and it really seems simple enough. The main steps are to chop up the fruit and boil it down to a puree. Then spread it out to dehydrate it. Once its dehydrated you can then rub it with sugar to help stop it from sticking to each other. A lot of the posts are for fruit other than pears and so when I experimented with it over the weekend I felt there were some things you could skip. So here is what I did to make my pear leather/roll-ups, it doesn’t have measured quantities so I will attempt to describe the process for you to get a feel on what to look out for.
White sugar (to taste and to rub on if you desire)
Citric acid (to taste)
A splash of water
Peel and chop up your pear. The smaller the pieces the quicker it cooks and becomes soft.
Place chopped pear in a saucepan with a little water over medium heat. You won’t need much water especially if your pears are very juicy. The water is there to stop the pears from burning as they start to cook. Once they start cooking they should release water and the less water you have to start with means less time to let it evaporate off.
Cook the pears over medium heat till they become soft and become a pulp. Once that happens you can lower the heat and keep reducing it till there is little water left. Especially look for a layer of water on the top of the pears when it is simmering, you want this to be gone.
Once as much water is evaporated off as possible without burning the pear pulp on the bottom, take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit.
Using a stick mixer (or any other equivalent appliance you have) puree the pear pulp till smooth. The smoother the better as it will mean you can have a nice even roll-up.
At this point, have a taste and see if it is sweet enough. If not, add a bit of sugar. Also, taste for a balance of some tartness and if it lacks then add a sprinkle of citric acid. You won’t need much citric acid as it is quite strong. Make sure you mix well (you can use the stick mixer for this).
Line a baking tray with some non-stick baking paper (or some people suggest heat proof cling wrap). Pour your pear puree on it and spread it out evenly to a few millimeters thickness.
Place it in an oven set around 70-80C or a dehydrator to dry for around 8 hours. The oven needs to be below 100C because then you will cause it to boil and caramelise into a hard mess. The aim is to just dry it without further cooking. Alternatively you could try leave it out for a few days. I did it in bursts in the oven over the course of two days to make sure I didn’t over dry it.
Feel to see if its dry, especially the middle of the tray as that is the last to dry out. If it is very sticky, it is not dry enough. When it dry enough it should be tough enough to be able to peel it off the baking paper without it ripping and it may look more translucent (see picture below). I wasn’t patient enough and the middle was still a little too soft.
When dry you can peel it of the baking paper, rub it with sugar to stop it sticking on everything and then cut it into strips.
Store in a dry, airtight container.
I am seriously rationing it because of all the fruit I cooked, it had low yields and I really must restrain myself if it is to last longer than a few days! It takes a lot of time but not much effort so seriously think of doing it because the taste is so worth it!