Dessert – Pear, almond and Saint Agur tart
For the pastry: 200g plain flour, 100g butter, unsalted, diced, at room temperature, 1 pinch sea salt, 1 egg, medium, organic/free-range, beaten, 1 tbsp water
For the filling: 50g butter, unsalted, room temperature, 50g caster sugar, 50g almonds, ground, 1 egg, medium, organic/free-range, six pear halves, tinned, drained, cores removed, 30g pecans, chopped
To serve: 50g Saint Agur blue cheese, crumbled icing sugar to dust (optional), 6-8 tbsp crème fraîche (optional)
For the pastry: Place the flour, butter and salt in a large bowl and rub together delicately using your fingertips until the mixture reaches a sandy texture. It is very important the butter is at room temperature in order to get an even distribution of butter within the mixture which helps give the pastry its flakiness.
Create a well in the centre of the mixture and add the egg and water. With your fingertips, in little concentric circles, work the liquid ingredients into the flour and butter mixture. Then, at the last moment when the egg has been absorbed, bring the dough together and press to form a ball.
Turn the ball onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with the palms of your hands for 10 seconds until you have a homogeneous dough (do not overwork it). Break off 20-30g of dough, wrap separately in cling film and place this small ball in the fridge to chill. Wrap the remaining dough in cling film and flatten it to about a 2cm thickness. Leave to rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Once rested, unwrap the large piece of dough and place in the middle of a large sheet of cling film, about 40cm square. Cover with another sheet of cling film, of similar dimensions. Roll out the dough to a circle 2–3mm thick. Place the tart ring on a wooden peel or flat baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.