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little pear and date pies

Yields1 ServingPrep Time6 minsCook Time14 minsTotal Time20 mins

It was in this phase that I rediscovered my love of dates (we are talking about that wrinkly date fruit) and raisins and homemade apple and pear butters. Am not sure if it was my deprived taste-buds, but a little homemade apple or pear butter or date paste or date syrup went a long way in adding a tantalizingly sweet flavor to my baked goods – like this Pear and Date Cake! When I first tasted a spoonful of this Skillet Cake, I must admit that I forgot that it was refined sugar free. But, I chalked it up to my deprived taste-buds – until, my daughter and mom and sister and friends gave this the thumbs up – with one of them eating 3 slices of this cake even though they kept saying they didn’t like pears!
Little pear and date pies
Serve these tasty little dessert pies filled with a surprise pear filling. Dates and pears have been two of my favorite fruits, but somehow, with the flavors of fall, I overlooked how incredible they were together. So, I decided to unite them with my taste-buds again – in this easy cake!

 6 Williams pears
 30 g unsalted butter
 8 Kaliteh dates, pitted and roughly chopped
 55 g caster sugar, plus extra to dust
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 ½ tsp arrowroot
 40 g fresh breadcrumbs
 One egg white, to brush
 Custard, to serve
 350 g plain flour
 60 g ground almonds
 55 g caster sugar
 250 g cold unsalted butter, coarsely grated

For pastry, process all ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 60ml (1/4 cup) chilled water and process until mixture just comes together. Divide pastry into 12, shape each into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.


Meanwhile, peel pears, core and cut into 1.5cm pieces. Melt butter in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, add pears, dates, sugar and vanilla, and cook for 5 minutes or until pears are tender and the mixture is quite wet. Drain mixture in a sieve placed over a bowl for 5 minutes. Remove 1 tablespoon pear liquid, cool and combine with the arrowroot. Return remaining liquid to pan, simmer over medium heat until syrupy, then stir in arrowroot mixture and cook until very thick. Return the fruit to the pan and toss to coat in syrup. Cool, then refrigerate until chilled.


Roll out pastry discs on lightly floured baking paper until 3mm thick, then cut into 11.5cm rounds. Gather scraps together and refrigerate. Grease a 12-hole (80ml / 1/3-cup) muffin tin, line with pastry rounds, then refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll out pastry scraps, cut out 12 x 7cm rounds, then refrigerate for 20 minutes.


Place a heavy-based oven tray in the oven and preheat oven to 200°C.


Divide breadcrumbs among pie cases, then top with pear filling. Place a pastry round on top, fold in edge to seal, then cut a slit in the top. Brush tops lightly with egg white, dust with extra sugar, place pies on heated oven tray and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden. Cool for 20 minutes before removing from the tin. Serve pies with custard.