Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Using Fall Fruits and Nuts

 After our recent days of Indian Summer - three days in a row of temperatures in the mid to upper 90s!...we dropped 30 degrees day before yesterday and also had rain...and then more rain yesterday afternoon. Not a downpour, but soaking mist with short runs of medium raindrops. The good news is that it should be enough to keep autumn forest fires at bay for another week or two. The bad news is that it isn't enough to help the water table. The other good news is that it cooled things down enough for baking!

Fall fruits are some of my favorites. Pears are mellow and juicy, the fragrant quince at the foot of the driveway turn from fuzzy to golden and shiny, and the persimmons are just beginning to turn colors on their way to a deep orange. Walnuts and pecans also are harvested in the fall. This year the squirrels and crows have gotten almost all of the walnuts, but I haven't had time to shell them anyway, so that's fine. The walnuts and pecans in this recipe are from Costco. The pears are from in town, carefully ripened in a brown paper bag. I still have some of all of them, so who knows what recipes will show up her in the next little while?

The honey is a very special harvest. It came from the hives of some friends of Sweeties...he went to middle school and high school with one of the friends and they hadn't seen each other in a very long time, but we had a great lunch with them. The honey is full flavored and so delicious! I'm sure that this tart would not have been nearly as wonderful without this special honey.

I started with a recipe from almost the beginning of my blogging time, way back in February of 2007. The recipe for a Nut Mosaic Tart comes from Sunset magazine from 1983. I even got a comment at some point from someone who had lost the recipe and had been delighted to find it again.

As you know if you have been following this blog, I often take a recipe and play with it. This time I took the tart recipe and reduced the nuts but added poached and peeled Bosc pear and poached and peeled pineapple quince. I used a pre-made refrigerated pie crust in the tart pan, tucking the excess into the tart and pushing the doubled sides into the tart pan curves. Then I ran a rolling pin over the top to cut off any excess dough and neaten the top. That's all it took to have a tart shell ready to fill.

The most time-consuming part is poaching, peeling, and chilling the fruit. Be sure to pat off excess liquid with a towel or paper towel before chilling. I didn't do that with the pear and so the pear nearly fell apart plus it made the filling just a bit liquid where the pear was.

The taste of this tart is amazing! All of the elements go so well together. It is fragrant with the quince, honey and orange zest, plus the roasting nuts while baking. I does need to chill a bit before serving, but once you do you will be so glad that you made this delicious Harvest Mosaic Fruit and Nut Tart!

Harvest Mosaic Fruit and Nut Tart
Adapted from a Sunset Magazine recipe from around 1983

1  9-inch tart pan lined with pie dough

1 large Bosc pear, ripe, poached until tender, peeled, cored, tossed with lemon juice and chilled in an airtight container for at least 4 hours. 
2-3 large quince, ripe, poached until tender, peeled, cored, tossed with lemon juice and chilled in an airtight container for at least 4 hours

1 cup walnuts, chopped roughly
1/2 cup pecans, whole
3 eggs
1 cup honey
½ teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Press pie pastry evenly over the bottom and sides of an 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. 

Arrange slices of poached pear and quince, alternating, with small end in the middle and larger end of each slice toward the side. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine eggs, honey, orange peel, vanilla, and melted butter; beat well until blended. Stir in nuts. Pour over fruit into pastry-lined tart pan. If needed, move the nuts around with a fork to scatter them evenly around and over the fruit. 

Bake on the bottom rack of a 350 degree F oven until the top is golden brown all over, about 40 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack. Remove pan sides. Offer wedges with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 10-12 servings.

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