In this post I will be making a delicious wild-foraged pear and buchu infused frangipani tart.
Its Autumn here in South Africa and what better way to celebrate then to create wild-foraged desserts filled with warming, spicy local flavours.
It just so happens that we have one lone pear tree, positioned in a very random spot, kind of tucked away. And Iv’e never paid it much attention since I haven’t seen one fruit come of it. However, to my delight it was dripping with pears this season. What luck! So I fetched my basket and picked only what I needed, leaving the rest for the birds of course.
I really love pastry with all my heart and immediately thought of tarte tatins, buttery puff pastry pies, strudels, streusels and flans… all of which would work beautifully with these lush pears. I finally decided on a traditional short crust tart filled with pear frangipani and buchu infused syrup which was inspired by this recipe.
Feeling like this tart needed some more wild-foraged ingredients I headed down to the waterpear tree (Syzygium guineense) near the river as the fruits were just ripening and I knew these sour dark purple berries would be a nice addition to my basket full of pears. This tree, also called a Woodland waterberry has medicinal properties as well as delicious edible fruits. But beware, the bark is toxic so please only pick from this tree if you are 100% sure of its ID and only use the berries. (Other parts of the tree are used for medicine but that’s for another post).
My next stop was the buchu shrubs (agathosma betulina) as this is the perfect herb to showcase the flavours of South Africas edible landscape. I just knew this would make for a delicious wild-foraged dessert. Buchu is one of my favourite wild-foraged herbs as the flavour is so intense and the medicinal properties are incredible!
So time for some kitchen witchin’ (by the way, if you too are happiest creating in the kitchen, tending to the garden and enjoy being home with your animals then read my blog on 11 signs you may be more witchy than you think and you may be surprised just how many resonate).
In the kitchen I began preparing my pears and wild-foraged ingredients. Of course you can substitute pear for plum or apple and it will be just as magnificent, go with whatever is in season and available.. I used einkorn wheat berries for the tart case as I order these fresh and then mill the flour at home. This is the only way I can eat wheat without getting a sore tummy and feeling bloated all day.
If wheat doesn’t affect you then go for a blend of wholewheat and all purpose flour. I love the nutty, earthy taste of einkorn and you will get a similar taste with the wholewheat blend. But whatever you can get your hands on, go for it. Im sure a gluten free flour blend will work just as well.
I hope you enjoy and let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your journey. Whether it’s a win or fail, baking is always a pleasure and I hope you feel that too.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose or einkorn flour
- 5 tbsp coconut sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 8 large pears, washed (Or 12 small pears)
- 1 cup whole waterpear berries
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Frangipani filling (you can omit this completely for a simpler pear tart)
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup water
- ½ cup plus 2 tbsp honey or sugar.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons einkorn or all-purpose flour
- 2 sprigs buchu or 1 tsp dried buchu leaves
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
- To make the buchu syrup, place water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil on the stovetop, add the buchu and honey and bring to the boil again.
- Let this cool and infuse before straining. (You might have to do this 1-2 hrs before starting the tart).
- In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar and salt. Add melted butter and combine to form dough.
- Transfer dough to a 20cm tart pan with a removable bottom. With your hands press the dough down to spread on the bottom and onto the rim of the pan.
- Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust turns golden brown. When ready, remove crust from oven and let it cool. Leave the oven on.
- Meanwhile to make the frangipani; add the almond flour, sugar or honey and butter to a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. if the mixture looks like it’s going to curdle add some all-purpose or einkorn flour between each addition of egg. Scrape down the bowl and make sure its all incorporated nicely.
- Now, slice 5 pears into 1cm slices, discarding the core.
- Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a large cast iron skillet. Add pear slices and 1 tbsp water. Cover and cook on medium heat until pears are slightly tender, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the pears onto a large platter and let them cool down, add the lemon juice.
- Take the remaining pears and cut them into 1cm slices.
- Now melt 2 tbsp of butter in your cast iron skillet. Add the newly-sliced pears, the whole waterpear berries and salt. Cook on a medium heat, covered, for ten minutes; stir occasionally until the fruit is very tender.
- Take a potato masher and mash the fruit into a puree. Let it cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the pureed mixture reduces and thickens. Strain the pips out
*The waterpear berries have large pips so its difficult slicing them prior to cooking so I just strain them out once I’ve cooked the mixture down to a puree
- Mix the fruit puree with the frangipani and combine gently.
- Transfer your pear and frangipani mixture onto the now cooled crust and spread evenly.
- Now, take the cooled pear slices and begin to assemble them in layered circles, starting at the outer edges.
- Place the tart on the middle rack of the oven. Bake at 175 deg C for 30 minutes.
- Warm up 3 tbsp of the strained buchu syrup ever so slightly
- When tart is ready, remove from oven and brush surface of the pears evenly with the warmed buchu liquid.
- Return to oven and place on the top rack. Grill the tart very briefly; watching carefully until pears gain a nice caramelised look.
- Remove from oven and let cool for at least 1 ½ hours before serving.
- When your tart has cooled you can drizzle the buchu syrup sparingly over the tart.
- Cut into slices and enjoy. *You can add some edible flowers too if you wish