I love poached pears, they always remind me of autumn. Poaching pears in a simple red wine, sugar and cinnamon syrup and pairing with a warm rich custard and ladling into a big bowl (or two) has to be one of my favourite desserts during winter. With this in mind, I decided to pull all three of these together to create a yummy Red Wine Poached Pear Tart with Vanilla Bean Custard.
Poached Pear Tart with Vanilla Bean & Champagne Custard
Sprinkle with toasted almonds for added crunch and colour
- 200 g All-Purpose Flour
- 50 g almond flour
- 100 g confectioners’ sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Zest of one lemon
- 125 g unsalted butter chilled and cubed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg yolks beaten
- 1 splash of milk roughly 2 teaspoons
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon cardamom pods
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks optional
- 1 cup red wine
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 2 firm conference pears peeled leaving the stem intact, sliced in half.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. In a large food processor, mix together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Add the cubed butter and pulse together until the mixture begins to resemble coarse crumbs. Add in the vanilla, eggs and splash of milk and continue pulsing until the dough begins to come together.
Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough forms together. Flatten into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will allow the gluten in the dough to relax.
Roll the dough out the dough to a 13’ inch diameter. Roll the dough up over a rolling pin and gently place on top of the 9-inch tart pan. Gently press the dough into the pan, making sure that the bottom is even and flat. Take your rolling pin and gently roll over the top of the pan. Doing this will perfectly cut off the excess dough leaving you a perfectly level crust!
Use a fork to prick the bottom of the pan to prevent the dough from bubbling up and baking unevenly. Line the tart tin with baking parchment and fill with ceramic pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice. Bake tart for 10-15 minutes. Remove the weights from the tart and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer tart to a wire rack to cool completely before filling with custard.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Cook and stir mixture over medium-high heat until thickened and is able to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove pan from the heat and gently whisk in butter and vanilla. Return pan to the heat and cook until custard is thick and almost pudding-like. Remove from the heat and allow the custard to cool in the pan to room temp. Transfer custard to a bowl and gently press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard. Refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight, preferably.
In a medium saucepan, combine cardamom, cinnamon stick (if adding), wine, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
On a cutting board, peel the pears and slice each in half lengthwise (leaving you with four halved pears). Starting with one halved pear, make ¼-inch slices, making sure to cut all the way down, across the bottom part of the pear. You want to leave roughly a ¼-inch distance from where the stem begins to where you start cutting. Do this for each pear halve.
Add the pears into the poaching syrup and add enough water to completely submerge the pears. Bring mixture to a simmer, turning occasionally, until pears are tender but not mushy, about 25-30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a plate to cool. Wait until pears have cooled to room temperature before placing on the tart.
Spoon roughly ¾ of the custard mixture into the cooled tart shell. The other ¼ you transfer to a small dish and save for later (tip: this custard is delicious topped with granola and blueberries for a morning on the go!). Top the custard with the cooled poached pears. Sprinkle toasted slivers of almonds and dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.