Oh yes. Thanks Julia Child for, yet again, another stunning and delicious dish! I bought this huge box of pears a couple weeks ago with the intent of canning them, but then my children and husband found the box right about the time the pears all ripened. So I only canned about half the box as the rest were eaten and I was left exactly 6 to make a tart. This was delicious. Scrumptious. Although there are some steps, they are not complicated, just takes a little time. And it's worth it. Plus I had just enough pie dough left to make a little pre-tart eating treat for myself (I tried to share with my children but they turned their little noses up at it so I ate it all by myself). When I was a kid my mom always used to roll out the left over dough and put it on a baking sheet and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the top and then bake it until it's done. Heaven..... I mean the crust is one of the main reasons I eat pie anyway, so it's perfect. Anyway, back to the Pear Tart...
FOR THE CRUST
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1¼ cups cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 5-6 tablespoons cold water
FOR POACHING THE PEARS
- juice and zest from one lemon
- 2 cups simmering water
- 2 cups cold water
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 pears, peeled and the bottoms trimmed so they will stand up
FOR THE CUSTARD
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ cup of the pear poaching liquid
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup heavy cream or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup pear poaching liquid
- ½ cup apricot jam
To make the crust:
- Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture is the texture of course sand.
- In a small bowl, combine the egg, vinegar and cold water.
- Mix together the egg mixture and the flour mixture, knead to combine.
- Roll the dough out on parchment, sprinkled with a little flour so that it will fit in a 9" springform pan.
- Once rolled out, place in the springform pan and trim the top so it is even with the top of the pan and prick the bottom of the crust several time with a fork, place parchment paper inside the crust and then put in a layer of baking beads or beans.
- Place the crust in a preheated 400˙ oven.
- Bake until set, about 15 minutes.
To make the poached pears:
- Strain the lemon juice and place it and the zest in a large saucepan. Add two cups of simmering water and stir in the sugar.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cold water and the vanilla.
- Bring the liquid to a boil and then add the pears so they are standing upright.
- Cover loosely and barely simmer for about 8-10 minutes, just until tender.
- Uncover and let stand 20 minutes in the syrup, or longer, before draining. Reserve some of the poaching liquid for the custard.
For the custard:
- Whisk together the flour and sugar.
- Gradually whisk in the ½ cup of the poaching liquid.
- Beat in the eggs and the heavy cream (or sour cream) and the vanilla.
- To assemble and bake the dessert:
- Preheat the oven to 350˙.
- Stand the poached pears inside the shell, evenly spaced.
- Pour the custard around them.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, just until the custard is set.
- While the custard bakes combine 1 cup of the poaching liquid with the apricot jam and bring to a boil. Cook until thick and syrupy.
- Once the custard is cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool 20 minutes.
- Once slightly cool, spoon the jam glaze over the pears and custard.
- Serve warm or cold - either way you are going to love this!