Tamal Ray’s recipe for apple and pear tart


This moreish, French-style, fruity treat is finished with a distinctive rum and star anise glaze

At the back of my parents’ garden sit two gnarled old fruit trees: an apple and a pear. The pear leans precariously to one side, while the apple has a big hole running through its middle, where a couple of blue tits raise their family every summer. We are probably one big storm away from losing both, although we’ve been saying that since I was old enough to start climbing them. While they’re still here, however, they remain a source of beauty and delicious puddings.

Apple, pear and rum tart
Prep 1 hr
Chill 1 hr
Cook 1 hr
Serves 8

For the pastry (or use shop-bought all-butter puff pastry)
250g plain flour
40g caster sugar
190g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1½cm-2cm cubes
½ tsp table salt
1 large egg, whisked

For the fruit puree
2 conference pears
1 apple (I like cox or braeburn)
Juice of ½ lemon
60g caster sugar

For the topping
3 conference pears
2 apples (I like cox or braeburn)
25g unsalted butter, melted
20g caster sugar

For the rum syrup
100g caster sugar
3 tbsp dark rum
Juice of ½ lemon
4 star anise

For the puree, peel and finely chop the fruit, then put in a saucepan with the lemon juice and sugar. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated, then mash to a puree.

For the pastry, mix the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, then add the cold butter. Stir in the egg and 50ml water, until the dough starts to come together, then briefly knead into a ball and turn out on to a lightly floured worktop. Dust a rolling pin with flour, roll the dough into a roughly 8cm x 20cm rectangle. Fold to bring one of the shorter edges in by two-thirds of the length of the dough, then fold over the remaining edge (ie, like folding up a letter). Repeat, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes. Repeat the fold and roll process twice more, cover and chill for another 30 minutes.

For the topping, peel the fruit, then cut it into 2mm-thick rounds. Heat the oven to 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Flour a rolling pin and worktop, and roll the dough into a 30cm-diameter circle. Lay this on a large lined baking sheet and crimp the edges to make a 1½cm crust. Spread the puree over the dough, then, starting from outside and working your way in, cover with concentric rings of sliced fruit, with each ring slightly overlapping the previous one. Sprinkle the fruit with sugar and brush the crust with the melted butter, then chill for 20 minutes.

Bake for 35 minutes, until the edges of the pastry are brown and crisp. In the last 10 minutes, make the syrup by putting the sugar, rum, lemon juice and star anise in a small pan, and stirring over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Bring up to a boil, cook for five minutes, then leave to cool until just starting to thicken. Remove the cooked tart from the oven, brush with the syrup and serve with a cool drizzle of double cream.