It’s the start of the South African apple and pear season! South Africa is known for the eating quality of its fruit, thanks to the near perfect growing conditions in the country’s Western Cape. Particular varieties you’ll find in UK supermarkets from March until October are:
- Granny Smith – Tart yet sweet taste with a firm, white and crisp flesh
- Gala – Sweet flavour, yellow skin with red stripes and a firm crisp flesh
- Golden Delicious – Golden yellow skin, with a delicate pink blush
- Pink Lady (Cripps’ Pink) – Attractive pink colour and exquisite taste, slightly oblong in shape
- Forelle – Oblong or bell-shaped with a distinctive pink blush, it has a sweet and juicy flavour
- Williams – Yellow skin when ripe, with a fragrant, sweet and juicy taste
- Packhams – Often unevenly shaped, green-yellow when ripe with a soft textured flesh
Being able to eat in season foods can make them much fresher and tastier than those that aren’t in season. So being able to have some recipes that use these in season apples and pears, is a winner. There will be a few coming in recent weeks, but here is the first one of the series; Melktert with Sea-salted Caramel Apples & Pears (a milk tart essentially).
Melktert with Sea-Salted Caramel Apples & Pears
This delicious dessert is a smooth and creamy version of custard tart, topped with caramelised sea-salted South African apples and pears.
- Preparation 30 minutes (plus 15 minutes chilling)
- Cooking 40 minutes
- Serves 8
- 225g plain flour (or flour of choice)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 110g chilled butter, cut into pieces (I used a dairy-free butter)
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- Chilled water, to mix
- 300g low fat soft cheese
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300ml single cream
- 2 large eggs
- Icing sugar, for sprinkling
- 30g butter
- 30g caster sugar
- 1 South African apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 South African pear, cored and thinly sliced
- Generous pinch of sea salt
What To Do:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6.
- Sift the flour and salt together. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add just enough chilled water to make a smooth (but not sticky) dough. Wrap and chill for 10-15 minutes.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 25cm flan ring or dish. Line with baking paper and baking beans or crumpled foil. Bake blind (i.e. without a filling) for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4.
- Beat together the low fat soft cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, single cream and eggs. Remove the baking paper and beans or foil from the pastry case. Pour in the filling and bake for 25-30 minutes, until set. Cool.
- For the topping, melt the butter in a frying pan and add the caster sugar, cooking for a few moments to dissolve it. Add the apple and pear slices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelise. Add the sea salt, cool slightly, then spoon on top of the tart.
Cook’s tip: Take a shortcut by using a pre-baked pastry case.
What do you think to the recipe? Would love to hear if you give it a try!
*recipe in partnership with South African Fruit.