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Biltong and Pear Tartlet

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You just can’t help it. Every time you discover a new pastry amongst the endless array of French patisseries, you relate it to the treats you grew up with. I recently had a tarte bourdaloue – a frangipane-style tart with solid pear halves inside – and for no reason at all, imagined how I could take this incredible pear-tinged delight and give it a melktert treatment. But then I imagined a pear and biltong salad (one of my top 5 favourite salads of all time) and that irresistible urge I get to challenge sweet flavours with hints of savoury kicked in. As I dusted my kitchen counter with flour and started rolling out my freshly-made pastry, I wasn’t convinced that it would work, but I was so wrong! This one’s going into my personal recipe journal of crowdpleasers.

BILTONG AND PEAR TARTLETS

TIME: 1 hour 30min | SERVES : 6

INGREDIENTS

for the pastry

100 g salted butter

200 g Snowflake Cake Flour

20 ml ice water

for the roasted pear mousse

3 pears

20 ml coriander seeds

2 sprigs fresh thyme

250 g smooth cream cheese

60 ml fresh cream

1 gelatin sheet

30 g biltong powder, fine

for the pear compote

3 pears

80 ml muscovado sugar

3 sprigs fresh thyme

for garnish

To garnish fine biltong powder

50 g sliced biltong

METHOD

for the tart shells

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Place the butter and Snowflake Cake Flour in a food processor and blend until a breadcrumb consistency. Slowly add the ice water to the mix (while the food processor is still blending) until a dough starts to form. Switch the food processor off and remove the dough from the food processor, then bring the dough together with your hands on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until a 3mm thickness is achieved. Spray the tart tins with non-stick spray. Use a large round cookie cutter, larger than the tart tin and cut out six circles. The remaining dough can be re-rolled and used to cut out more circles if needed. Place each disk in a tart mould and press edges into the ridges. Remove the excess dough with a pallet knife. Place the lined tart tins in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes. Remove the tart shells from the refrigerator, place on a baking tray and use a fork to dock the dough (poke tiny holes in the tartlet base). Line each tart shell with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Place in the oven and blind bake for 10 minutes, remove the baking paper and baking beans from the tart shells and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely while still in the tart tins. Once cooled, remove from the tart tins and reserve until needed.

for the roasted pear and biltong mousse

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Core and peel the pears and slice in half. Place the pears in a baking tray, sprinkle with coriander seeds and thyme sprigs. Cover with foil, and place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool and remove from the tray, remove excess coriander seeds. Place the roasted pears, cream cheese, biltong powder and cream in a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. Bloom the gelatin sheet in ice water. Decant the mousse mixture into a saucepan, slightly warm over a low heat. Once the gelatin is bloomed, remove from the water, squeezing out any excess water. Once the mousse is warm, add the bloomed gelatin leaf and whisk until fully incorporated. Decant the mousse into a mixing bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator until firm.

for the pear compote

Core and peel the pears. Slice into small cubes and mix with muscovado sugar and thyme in a medium saucepan, cook over a medium heat. Once the pears are soft and the sugar turns into a light syrup consistency, remove from the heat and reserve until needed.

To assemble

Scoop the mousse into a piping bag, fitted with a petal shaped nozzle. Place the tart shells on your surface and fill with pear compote and even out. The pear compote must cover the base of the tart shell. Even it out to ensure the mousse will be piped on evenly. Pipe the biltong and pear mousse on top of the compote in three even sections, and dust with biltong powder.

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