Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pear and Apple Custard Tarts

Recently, I tried a recipe from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario's spring magazine, and, while it didn't end up looking quite as pretty as the inspiration picture, it was delicious.

Here's the picture, from the magazine, that caught my eye.  Isn't it pretty?  Isn't it tantalizing?  I read over the recipe and thought, how hard could that be to make?  Well it was in fact a little more difficult than it seemed - but, oh so worth it!

Here's the recipe (by Nancy Midwicki)

Tart Shells:
8-10 sheets phyllo dough
1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, melted (although I just used margarine because I'm fancy like that)

Fruit filling:
2 Granny Smith or Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 firm pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tbsp (25 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cinnamon
pinch salt
1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch
1 tbsp (15 ml) sweet butter (again I just used margarine and it tasted fine)
1 can (14 oz/398 ml) Devon custard

Assorted edible flowers
Fresh mint sprigs
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

1.  Peel, slice, and core fruit and cook in a pan with lemon juice, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Simmer until tender, but firm.  Add cornstarch and, when thickened, gently stir in butter until melted.  Cool
2.  Melt butter and brush each phyllo sheet evenly.  Place another sheet on top (this is where an extra set of hands sure came in handy) and repeat four times.   Cut each stack into four parts and trim the squares into rounds and gently fit into a large buttered muffin tin.  Repeat.  Always cover remaining phyllo dough with a damp tea towel to prevent drying.  Cool unbaked tart shells in the fridge for 15 minutes (although between you and me, I was so excited to have the phyllo cut and into the muffin tins that I forgot to put it in the fridge to cool and it baked just fine).  Bake in 325F (165C) oven for 8-12 minutes until golden.  Cool.  
3.  Just before serving, place tart shells on plates and put a spoonful of custard in the bottom of each.  Repeat with fruit mixture.  Top with more custard.  Garnish as desired.  

The hardest part of the recipe was dealing with the phyllo dough.  If you've used it you will know what I mean.  I had never used phyllo before and boy is it thin and tears easily.  I had Kate help me and together we managed to get four layers buttered and cut and put into each of the sections of the muffin tins.  I only broke out into a sweat a few times and didn't utter any bad words so all was good.

The apple and pear mix was straightforward and really got my mouth watering as I love cooked fruit and the combination was delicious.

We had friends over for dinner whose eight year old daughter helped me assemble the dessert.   I didn't have any edible flowers or mint sprigs, so we dusted some icing sugar on top to make them pretty.  My assistant was very helpful.

She was in charge of the icing sugar dusting.

And she took her job very seriously.  

The tarts definitely got a 10 on the yummy scale!!!


  1. I could devour one of those right now! looks like you and your assistant did an excellent job!

  2. They do look delicious! I love pear and apple. I can see some sauteed fruit drizzled with caramel in these phyllo cups. I think your cups turned out well.

  3. OH, how *lovely* they look!!!! I bet they are delicious, too, but they are almost too pretty to eat!

  4. I remember seeing this recipe in the LCBO book and thought that the tarts looked delicious! Working with phyllo sends me into panic mode though- so I'm very impressed that you were able to get amazing results. I bet they tasted really good, too!

  5. Thanks for the post. I'm on my way to Dhaka and will be needing all the information i can get.

    call Bangladesh

  6. Mmm, they do look delicious.

  7. Oh this looks good. Pears are one of my favorite fruits! I'd love to try it but I've never heard of Devon custard. I don't think I've seen anything like that down here.

  8. You brave woman Grace! I can't resist when someone says 'Oh, so delicious'.
    You are talking my language and I love baked apples..the pears are a bonus!
    Thanks for sharing :)
    Jeanne xx

  9. Your assistant did a good job, these look delicious!!

    Kat :)

  10. They sure look yummy to me!My mailing adress! Angie xo

  11. I really shouldn't have read this before eating this hungry! These look so good.