Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cantaloupe-Pear Tart with Apple Glaze

The origins of this cantaloupe-pear tart with an apple glaze began some years back, when a friend mentioned a wonderful cantaloupe pie she’d had at a bed-and-breakfast when she was young. That sounded good to my wife, but she doesn’t bake pies.

Then she remembered. “Wait a minute,” she thought. “I have a husband who bakes pies.”

That being the case, I was given the happy task of putting together a cantaloupe pie, and it worked out pretty well. When the cantaloupe I was making it with one day was a bit too small, I supplemented it with a similarly sliced pear, and found it became even better. Before long it became my go-to recipe for "everybody bring something" events. People seemed to like it because it not only tasted good on its own, but had the added appeal of being just a bit unusual. And so when I received a tart pan as a gift this past Christmas, I knew what my first tart had to be.

Like many tart recipes, then, this one also adapts very easily back to a double-crust pie, either solid-top or lattice-top, if that’s what you prefer to make. The biggest difference here is that the tart version also has a glaze made from a Granny Smith apple, with a gentle tartness that contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the filling.

This recipe makes one 9-1/2” tart. 
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and blind bake a pastry shell in a 9-1/2” tart pan. (Clicking on the links will take you to previous posts featuring a tutorial video on blind baking and a pie crust recipe.)

Place a small glass plate in the freezer. (This is a technique borrowed from the world of jelly-making that will be useful when we make the glaze.)

Slice a cantaloupe into ¼” thick slices and cut off the rind. Peel and core a pear and cut it into similar ¼” thick slices.

Put ½ cup of brown sugar (firmly packed), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt into a sealable plastic bag. Add the cantaloupe and pear slices and toss to coat.

After the pastry shell is blind-baked, arrange the fruit in the pastry shell in two layers, dotting each layer with about 1 teaspoon of butter substitute. Bake till done, about 60 minutes. (Similar to when you bake a pie, keep an eye on the crust and cover the edge with aluminum foil if it starts to get too brown.)

While the tart is baking, prepare the glaze as follows. (If you prefer, simply warming your favorite preserves to a brush-able texture would work too, if you don't mind the glaze being a bit sweeter than the Granny Smith apple version.)
Peel, core and coarsely chop a Granny Smith apple, putting the pieces in a bowl with the juice of one lemon and tossing to coat as you go to prevent the apple from oxidizing.

Put the apple pieces and the juice into a food processor and puree until liquid.

Put the pureed apple into a small saucepan with 2 -3 tablespoons of sugar and cook over low heat to a jelly-like consistency, checking the readiness of the hot liquid by putting a few drops on the frozen plate and seeing if it gels.

When the tart and glaze are ready, and while the tart is still warm, gently brush the glaze onto the fruit filling to finish the tart.

Hope you like it! If you prefer a cookbook-style, notebook ready copy of this or any other Kissing the Cook recipe, just let me know in a comment or e-mail and I'll send it right along.

See you next week with another kitchen-tested, user-friendly recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)

5 comments:

  1. What an unusual tart -- I've never eaten cooked cantaloupe -- I will have to try this!

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  2. Thanks, Martha! I was drawn to the idea of using cantaloupe in large part because it is an unusual choice. And it ended up tasting good too! You do such great work with this kind of thing, I would love to know how this works out when you make it.

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  3. Thanks, Mary. The first time I tried using cantaloupe in a pie I was very happy with it, and I've been using it ever since. I hope you'll give this a try!

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  4. it will be meaningful to figure out how many Calories in Cantaloupe makes up the components of the fruit.

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