10.25.2014

Just a Pear Tart

Really, I have to call it simply, "Pear Tart."

Because what it really is just doesn't make for a good name; wine-poached-pears-stuffed-with-almond-praline-atop-a-marzipan-yoghurt-custard-tart just doesnt flow off your tongue, does it?

How did this happen? This is what comes from having a day off (not planning to cook) and deciding to clean out the fridge and cupboards.

Yoghurt. How long has that been in there? When did Lisa and Charlie visit...? We got it for them It still smells good

Marzipan. Bought it last Christmas to make cocoa-marzipan balls. That didn't happen. Now the tube of marzipan feels more like a billy club - so hard I could use it to tenderize meat. While it is probably past its expiration date (I didnt look, but assume because of its hardness), I was confident that it wasn't "bad" or dangerous to eat. Well, it might be dangerous to your teeth....

Six tiny pears from last week's farmers market. I had to do something with them. Pears don't last forever, and these were beginning to get spots.

A jar of much loved and coveted almond praline made by Joël Durand in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a birthday gift from my favorite Modern Trobadors. I wasn't needing to clear this one out, but it did give me an idea. This is how my mind works:

Core the pears (partially, leaving the stems intact). Poach them. Drain, cool, and stuff them with almond praline. Brilliant. But, then what?

Ooh. A tart. A custard tart. No cream in the house. Yoghurt... of course! Wait ... can you use yoghurt to make a custard? Will it curdle? I guess we will find out.

Grind some almonds to mix with the yoghurt and... (insert epiphany here!) ... No, grate the marzipan billy club to use in the custard. Add eggs, some sugar, a touch of vanilla, fill a pastry crust, pop the stuffed pears on top, bake, glaze pears with marmalade, and, voilà, dessert.

The last two pieces of this one got tested by colleagues Lisa and Chris. Both gave it two thumbs up. Chris, in a moment of "look what I have!" sent a cell phone shot to his wife, who was home taking care of their two toddlers. Etiquette fail, Chris.

While I think everyone should have a jar of almond praline in their fridge, I am afraid the world is an unfair place. The good news is that stuffing the pears with some thick raspberry or blackberry jam is an unbelievably good substitute. Or simply make a fruit and nut purée.

That is the beauty of making things up. The fantasy can keep going, because you can't always have the perfect ingredients on hand. Use fresh marzipan to make this, or ground almonds mixed with butter and sugar. You can use cream in the custard. You don't have to stuff the pears - in fact, you can just top it with  pear or peach slices or fresh raspberries after you bake it.

Go wild! Make it your own! Have some fun in that kitchen on your day off!

~ David

Pear Tart

Poached Pears
6 small Seckel pears, peeled
1 750ml bottle sweet white wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Partially core pears leaving the stem end in tact.

Place wine, sugar, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Fill the wine bottle with water and add it to the saucepan. Add pears, bring to a boil, reduce heat and poach until pears are tender. This will depend on the ripeness of your pears - from 20-45 minutes. Drain, and set aside to cool.

Crust
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
ice water

Place the flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and, using the steel blade, use once to combine. Add butter in 8 pieces, and pulse 10 times. Place egg yolk into a 1/4-cup measure, break it up with a fork, and then fill the rest of the measure with ice water. Sprinkle this atop the flour and butter, then process until a ball of dough forms around the blade. (You don't need to clean the processor for the next step)

Roll dough into an 11-inch round and use it to line a 9-inch tart pan (with removable bottom). Trim the edges and chill till ready to fill.

Filling
7 ounces marzipan
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup Greek (or Greek-style yogurt)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Using the coarse holes on a box grater, grate the marzipan into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade (same one used to make the crust). Then add the 3 tablespoons flour and sugar and process until the mixture resembles sand. Add yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, and process until smooth. Set aside.

Finishing
3 tablespoons almond praline or other filling of choice
2 tablespoons orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stuff a heaping teaspoon of praline into the cavity of each pear. Set stuffed pears aside on their sides so that the stuffing doesnt ooze out.

Remove crust from the refrigerator, and pour filling into crust. Arrange pears, bottom-side down, evenly around the tart in a circle.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

Melt the two tablespoons of marmalade in a small saucepan. While the tart is still very hot, using a pastry brush, brush the pears with melted marmalade being careful not to get it on the custard.

Allow to cool completely before serving.


Serves 6-8 (if 8, not everyone will get a whole pear!)


37 comments:

  1. Wow, oh wow, oh wow! This is just gorgeous & it sounds amazing! I like the way your mind works! xoxo

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  2. Looks terrific and I'm dying to make a pear tart once our San Diego weather cools a bit.

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    1. Liz - so sorry it is still hot in San Diego. Still pretty warm herein Tucson, too, but the AC is good!

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  3. This looks beautiful. I love the dishes that seem to unfurl and evolve upon themselves :)

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    1. Yes, Ahu - it is almost as if ingredients just jumped into my hands!

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  4. Loving the experimentation here, David. That's half the fun of being in the kitchen. That custard looks perfectly set!

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    1. It is what I call "therapy," John. I need more of it!

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    1. Now that is a major compliment! Thanks, Madelief!

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  6. Oh. My. Goodness. Love, love, love this... amazing, David! You may call it just a pear tart, I call it amazingly beautiful. You rock!

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    1. Thanks so much, Cathleen! It is so much fun to play in the kitchen, even if you have no idea how it will come out! Just lucky this time! Glad you like it!

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  7. This is seriously one of the most beautiful desserts I've seen. I can see just how creamy, rich and fresh it is -- all at once. Adding filling to the inside of those tiny pears put it over the top! LOVELY!

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    1. Valentina, I was originally going to ignore the cored-out section of the pears but with at praline sitting in my fridge... well, I couldn't they'll myself! Thanks!

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  8. Maybe it doesn't flow off the tongue, but it certainly flows into the mouth. GREG

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    1. ANd that is all that counts, isn't it Greg?

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  9. Mmmmm....this is pure genius! Now I am torn between making this genius tart and a luscious pear cake I found last autumn on the food blog, "My Kitchen in the Rockies."

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    1. Well, my unsolicited advice is to make both. More is better, right? I am also going to post a pear cake soon, so you may have three choices with which to contend! Thanks for your kind comments, Caterina!

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  10. Wow, wow, wow, David! Divine. It really deserves a sexier titile though... : )

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    1. How about the Blonde Bombshell? It did come out rather sexy, didn't it? Thanks, Liz!

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  11. Hi David, just a tart, I don't think so, this is amazing, love that you poached, then stuffed and then made that incredible filling. Your presentation is wonderful! happy Sunday to you!

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    1. Thanks, Cheri! As you can see, a day in the kitchen can be very dangerous! I just keep adding until it is almost too much!

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  12. I love pears and this tart look heavenly!

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    1. Thanks, Gloria! It is nice to "meet" you here and on Instagram - I look forward to checking out your blog!

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  13. Oh gosh David!! I've been drooling over this tart ever since I saw it on Instagram and the recipe doesn't disappoint!! That marzipan filling looks amazing! Definitely worthy of being a special occasion dessert... In fact, I might just make it for Aaron's and my anniversary in a couple of weeks ;)

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    1. Thanks, Laura - I hope you do make it! Let me know what you think. I imagine it will be even better with fresh marzipan! :) Happy Anniversary to you and Aaron!

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  14. I damned the "just" on the title,
    this pear tart it worth to die for dessert....

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    1. Thanks, Dedy - you are, as ever, so nice to say that!

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  15. A true work of art! I am impressed... but I do think you have to somehow put some of your art and the almond factor into the name. Maybe you should have a contest. And by the way, I read in the comments that the photo was on IG... wait, am I not following you?? Must check immediately

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    1. Thanks, Fiona! Yes, I think the almond factor is important, so maybe Pear-almond tart. :) Just found you on IG - glad you let me know you were there. It occurs to me that so many of my blogger friends are, and I should look for them, too!

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  16. David, your pear tarte is looking very elegant - there is just nothing better sometimes than spending that extra time in the kitchen and unwind a bit with cooking and baking. I know this must have been a delicous treat - it reminds me of my tart that the kids keep asking for all the time but that I do not seem to find the time to make anymore http://kitchenlioness.blogspot.de/2013/09/autumnal-cake-with-vanilla-custard-and.html
    Great minds just think alike...
    Liebe Grüsse,
    Andrea

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    1. I think that apple custard tart was one of the first posts of yours that I saw... maybe my subconscious remembered and it inspired my pear tart!

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  17. I've been having trouble with comments again. Your tart sounds and looks way better than "just a pear tart". You should at least call it "my beautiful pear tart". :)

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    1. Thanks, Karen - and thank you for being persistent in leaving comments even when Blogger is inconsistent! I am so glad you liked the tart, and I love your name for it!

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  18. OMGosh…this tart looks amazing! I absolutely love the mix of flavors! I have to tackle this one for Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing, David! Happy weekend!

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    1. I think this would be a great Thanksgiving dessert, Kathy! I think I am required {by family tradition} to produce apple and pumpkin pies, though... :)

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