Emma: I met Vicki Meintjes through a mutual friend a few years ago. We've mainly stayed in contact via social media (its good for that!) and when I launched Sophie + Millie, I immediately thought Vicki would be a great fit for some guest recipe posts. Her instagram feed @anygivensundayjournal is full of her culinary adventures. I must admit I'm quite jealous of people who get so much enjoyment from cooking - it just isn't me. Vicki creates some beautiful dishes and styles them so well.
For Easter Vicki has created a beautiful pear + hazelnut tarte tatin. Perfect for Easter gatherings! Enjoy x
Vicki: Easter is nearly here, and no Easter is complete without chocolate. Last year around this time I’d given up sugar, and it was HARD to get through Easter, as I’m a massive chocoholic. This year, let’s be honest. There will be chocolate, and lots of it. But when asked by Sophie + Millie to write a guest recipe for their blog, I really wanted to provide something that paid homage to Easter, but without it being too ‘Eastery’.
So I present to you, the humble tarte tatin. Traditionally, tarte tatins do not include chocolate. They are usually made with apples, sometimes pears, and a lovely flaky pastry. But seeing as it’s Easter, I wanted to come up with something festive and somewhat Eastery for the Easter table, but without the obvious chocolate hit. Let’s be honest – there probably won’t be a shortage of bunnies and eggs around the house or at work, so this simple crowd pleaser will give you that extra edge at your Easter spread. And trust me, there won’t be any left.
This tart is a twist on the old classic, with a chocolate pastry instead of a standard pastry. Do yourself a favour and make it and eat it. Now.
140 g butter, cut into cubes and chilled in the freezer
1 ½ c plain flour
2/3 c cocoa
2 T sugar
1/3 c + 1 T iced water
6 firm pears
115 g butter
1 c sugar
1 T lemon juice
1/3 c hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Mix the flour, cocoa and sugar in a food processor. Add the chilled butter (the colder the better – chill about 20 mins) and process until the pieces of butter are no larger than little peas. Add the iced water a little bit at a time and as needed, processing only until the dough just comes together and forms a mass. Don’t overprocess.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and form into a ball. Try not to handle too much, as the butter will start to melt. Using a rolling pin, roll into a 10-11 inch circle, lifting and turning the dough as you roll to make sure it doesn’t stick. If you need to, very lightly flour the top of the dough to make rolling easier. Transfer dough to a floured rimless baking tray or floured wax paper on a tray. Wrap in plastic wrap then rest in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 200° celsius.
Peel, halve and core pears. In a heavy, oven-proof stainless steel frying pan (measuring 7-8 inches across bottom and 10-11 inches across top, and 2 inches deep), melt the butter. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the butter until combined. (The sugar does not have to be melted.) Give the pan a little shake so the mixture distributes evenly. Arrange the pears, cut side up, with the wide part of the pear toward the edge of the pan and the narrow part pointing inwards, and place a half in the middle of the pan. The pears will shrink after cooking, so reserve a half as you may need it for later.
Place pan on med-high heat on the stovetop and let it bubble away for 12-14 mins while the mixture caramelises. You want it to go from a light golden colour to a nice dark amber colour. Remove it from the heat and let the pan cool slightly about 5 mins. If the pears have shrunk and you need to fill in the gaps with the reserved pear, do this now. (The pear will cook in the oven.) Sprinkle the lemon juice and hazelnuts over the pears.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and tap off excess flour. Place the pastry over the pan, and tuck the edges down inside the pan. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes then check if there is excess juice bubbling up the sides. If so, carefully tip the pan to the side and pour the juices out. You may wish to reserve the juices for later. Cook a further 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife along the inside edge of the pan to loosen, then place your serving platter over the pan, and tip it over so the tart is face side up on the platter. Sprinkle very sparingly with sea salt, if desired. Otherwise omit it. Serve with vanilla ice cream or simply some cream. Then sit back, relax and marvel in the simple joys of life. Your beautiful tart will keep at room temperature for a day. If you need to refrigerate it, warm it slightly before serving.
About Any Given Sunday Journal (AGSJ)
A passion for food and cooking in her downtime led Vicki to create Any Given Sunday Journal, as a way to document her cooking and culinary adventures. Vicki believes that any day can be like a Sunday, if you just tap into what makes you happy. So any day of the week can see Vicki recipe testing, learning about food processes and techniques, playing around with food styling, or creating sweet treats for happy customers. Vicki’s chocolate peanut butter cups have captured many an imagination, and she sells these and other delectable treats by the dozen to hair salons and individual customers for anything from baby showers to family reunions or just because.
Vicki’s food philosophy is based on seasonal produce, sustainable sourcing and knowing what’s in your food. Her natural flair for styling has seen her cook and prepare food to a brief for television commercials.
You can find AGSJ on Instagram: @anygivensundayjournal