When we featured this gorgeous Strawberries and Cream cake recipe courtesy of clean pastry chef Henrietta Inman earlier this Summer, your response echoed ours - it was instantly a big hit amongst you clean-eating foodies. So to celebrate the spirit of Christmas, we'we called on Henrietta of Hen’s Clean Cakes blog to provide us with another dreamy dessert recipe which vegans and those adverts to dairy, gluten and refined sugar can enjoy without giving up on taste. Her response to our festive brief is non other than read tea, poached pears and dark chocolate tarts - a spicy, warming and winning combination for Christmas! Get it below.
If you're a clean-eating foodie with a sweet tooth, make sure you check out her blog for recipes. Also, look out for Henrietta's book 'Clean Cakes' (Jacqui Small Publishers) which is due for release on the 18th of February 2016. Save the date!
Spiced Winter Red Tea-Poached Pears and Dark Chocolate Ganache Tarts
"I love tea! Whether it’s just an infusion made with fresh ginger, turmeric and lemon in the morning, my powdered Matcha green tea to pick me up in the afternoon, or a wonderful blend from Pukka, Positivitea or Tea Pigs. It’s great in my Clean Cakes too, either inspiring flavour combinations in my creations, or actually adding it to the ingredients, whether infused in coconut milk or used to create a delicious soaking liquid for plumping up honeyed dried fruits, as I do with a chai tea blend in my Extra Fruity Fruit cake on my blog.
This month, I needed something spicy and warming again so I turned to Tea Pigs Spiced Winter Red Tea with a base of rooibos onto which festive flavours of orange peel, cinnamon and cloves are layered, delicately balanced with orange blossom, ginseng and safflower petals. They marry so well together in this tart, lifting up the sweet pears’ flavour and bringing a lovely aromatic dimension to the smooth dark chocolate ganache on which the pears sit… All is encompassed in a crunchy, crumbly almond and buckwheat chocolate pastry. What more could you want to impress your guests this Christmas?! Or, just make them for yourself and your family as a divine treat to enjoy when all the crazy Christmas preparations are done and dusted. I do hope that you enjoy them!"
Ingredients - Makes 6 individual tarts (using 10cm diameter 2cm depth tart tins)
For the Winter red poached pears; spiced orange glaze; candied orange peel (yes, all three in one recipe!):
- 1000ml Spiced Winter Red Tea made with 3 tea pyramids (see note below)
- 1 medium orange, peeled with a potato peeler to get thick strips of zest and 70g of juice
- 1,8cm cinnamon stick
- 10 whole cloves
- 100g raw honey, local if possible
- 3 good quality sweet pears (ripe but still quite firm) weighing about 160g- 170g each, I like to use Comice
- 2 tbsp sugar-free high fruit content orange marmalade (I like to use St Dalfour)
For the cacao buckwheat pastry:
- 45g coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
- 75g ground almonds
- 60g buckwheat flour, plus extra for rolling the pastry
- 15g cacao powder
- 30g coconut sugar
- 10g arrowroot powder
- ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
- ½ medium orange, zest finely grated
- 35g/ ml cool water, filtered if possible
For the spiced dark chocolate ganache:
- 120g maple syrup
- 80g cacao powder
- Small pinch Himalayan pink salt
- 2 bags Spiced Winter Red Tea, opened and ground as much as possible in a spice grinder (the tea here is optional as we also have the spices below)
- ¼ heaped tsp ground cloves
- ¼ heaped tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp orange extract
- 100g/ ml poaching liquids
- 80g coconut oil, melted
- To poach the pears, peel and remove the core from just the bottom of each one (it’s the hardest part of the core, just scoop it out!), leaving the stalks on. In a medium saucepan, bring the tea (leave the bags in the saucepan), orange peel and juice, cinnamon stick, cloves and honey to a boil and carefully place the pears in the water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the pears for about 20 minutes, until they are soft but still a little al dente; if the pears are too soft and ripe, they can easily turn into mush which we don’t want! Turn off the heat and leave the pears in the hot-warm liquid to cool; they will carry on cooking a little.
- Preheat the oven to 170oC and grease the tart tins with a little coconut oil.
- For the pastry, melt the coconut oil and set aside. Mix together all the dry ingredients from the ground almonds to the orange zest. Make a well in the centre of the pastry and pour in the melted coconut oil and cool water. Mix to form a pastry, bring the ingredients together with your hands to finish. Lightly flour a piece of baking parchment with buckwheat flour and place the pastry on top, flattening it out with your hands to about 1cm. Flour the surface of the pastry and place another sheet of parchment paper over it. Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick. Line the tins with the pastry by cutting rounds of pastry for each tin then quickly flipping the pastry into the tin. Or divide the pastry into six and roll individual rounds for each tin. The pastry will fall apart (that’s what gluten-free pastry does!) but don’t worry, just put it back together like a jigsaw, making sure it’s all smooth and that there are no gaps or air pockets. Trim the edges and bake for about 12 minutes, turning the tray halfway until the pastry just feels firm and cooked. Leave the pastry to cool in the tins completely.
- In a high speed blender or using a powerful stick blender, blend all the ganache ingredients together until completely smooth, except the coconut oil. When smooth, add the coconut oil and blend once more until completely emulsified.
- Remove the pears from the poaching liquids. Cut off the stalks, cut each pear in half and core, then slice each half into about 1cm slices, no thicker. Pour the ganache into the cooled tart shells (you should get about 60g per tartlet). You then want to create a fan-like effect by arranging the pear slices on top of the ganache, using 1 half of each pear per tart. Place the tarts in the fridge to set for about 15-30 minutes, checking after 15 minutes. You just want the ganache to be firm. Meanwhile, reduce the rest of the poaching liquids, squeezing out and removing the tea pyramids, until you are left with 120g/ml. Remove the cloves and cinnamon stick but leave the orange peel in. When it has reduced, add the orange marmalade and stir in on a low heat to make a wonderful caramel-like spiced glossy glaze! By this time, the orange peel should have candied too. Remove it from the glaze and slice into fine strips.
- Using a pastry brush, glaze each tartlet, serving any remaining glaze alongside the tarts. Decorate with the candied orange strips, cacao nibs and a few pieces of chopped almonds or hazelnuts. You can also make this as one large tart, using an approx. 23cm tart tin.