Poached Pear Tart with Maple Pastry Cream

Where does time go???? You must be wondering why I am not posting as many recipes theses days, but time seem to be fading away faster these days than they ever were or is it me just getting more busy? I am still cooking and making up recipes but I have to choose between sleeping or writing in my blog and I have been choosing to sleep. You will understand;-)

My son turned 15 at the beginning of the month. 15 already;-( Well this young man looks nothing like he used to at his birth at a low weight of 1lb. and 4oz. ( he was born at 24 weeks). Today he is almost 6 feet and weigh 180 lbs.

His birthday fell on a weekday so we had a party for it the following Sunday with all the uncles, aunts and cousins. He wanted to have an ice-cream cake so I  went to the closest ice-cream parlour and bought him a cake.

Of course I was not going to serve a bought  ice-cream cake to my guests. I am a much better host than that. Instead I decided to make a pear tart with a maple custard cream.

This recipe is for a  9 inch pie or for about 6 3 1/16 individual pies.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 sticks of butter at room temperature,
  • 2 1/2 cup of sugar,
  • 2 cups of flour,
  • 1 tsp of salt. 
  • 1 cup of whole milk,
  • 3 large egg yolks,
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch,
  • 1/2 cup of whipped cream homemade,
  • 2-4 tbsp of maple syrup.
  • 2/3 pears or 1 can of canned pear halves.

Ingredients for the pate sablee ( or shortbread pie dough): 2 sticks of butter at room temperature, 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp of salt. 

In a mixer beat the butter and the sugar until it fluffs up and becomes a pale yellow. Reduce the speed and slowly add the flour and the salt. Mix until the dough becomes crumbly. Do not overmix. With your hands, shape a ball then cover the ball with some plastic wrap and let it cool in the fridge for 30 minutes and up to 2 days. Turn the oven to 375. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place the dough on the large roul’pat, and with a rolling pin, roll a 11 inch circle if you want to make a large pie or cut small circles using the dough cutter of of 3 1/16. Place the dough into the large round mold or in the opening of the medium tartlet tray. Perforate the dough with a fork. Place a parchment paper over the dough. Fill the parchment paper/ pie with some dry white bean and cook the dough at 375 for 15 minutes. When it is cooked, remove it from the oven, and let it cool. When it is cooled, remove the beans and the parchment paper and set aside for later use.

While the pie is cooling prepare the maple pastry cream.

Ingredients for the maple pastry cream: 1 cup of whole milk, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 3 large egg yolks, 2 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch, 1/2 cup of whipped cream, 2-4 tbsp of maple syrup.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and cook the milk until it is almost boiling. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture is becoming lighter in color and is becoming fluffer. Add the cornstarch and mix well. Pour the milk slowly into the egg mixture while stirring. Place the mixture back onto the stove and cook at a medium temperature until it is becoming really really thick. Remove it from the stove.Place the mixture into a bowl and into the fridge to cool.

Poached Pear:  2 to 3 pears, 1/2 cup of sugar. 

Peel the pears and slice them thinly. Place the pears on the flexipat. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sugar over the pears. Cover the pears with a medium silpat and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the pears are poached and tender. Let them cool.

If you do not have time, you may use canned pears. They are a great substitute.

When the pastry cream is cooled. Slowly add the whipped cream to the pastry cream. Also flavor the cream with the maple syrup. You may use 2-4 tbsp of maple syrup.

To prepare the pies. Place the cream into a plastic bag and pipe the cream into the pies. Lay the pears slices over the cream superposing them. For the small tartlets you will only be able to place 3 to 4 slices. For the big pie you will place the pear slices going around the pie crust.

For added decoration I drizzled some fresh caramel over the pear tart. Making caramel is quite easy. You place 1 cup of sugar into a small saucepan and you place the saucepan onto the stove at medium high temperature. Do not mix, just be patient. The sugar will start dissolving and will start to get an amber color on the outer rim. At that point start stirring until the caramel is a light golden color. With a spoon, drizzle the caramel over the pies et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Roasted Pear Creme Brulee Tart

I love pears but I have never found a dessert other than poached pears that I have really liked. So when I saw this recipe of Roasted pear and creme brulee  in the Best Baking recipes of Cooking light 2011, I had to try it! And it was very good. Very very light! It is just not an easy recipe since there are so many steps.

Ingredients for a large tart tray of 12 inches.

Roasted Pears: 4 pears cored.  2 tsp of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg, 2/3 cup of brown sugar.

Place the pears cut side down on a flexipan. In a bowl, mix all the other ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle the pears with the sugar and spices mixture, and bake them in an already warm oven of 450 for 30 minutes or until the pears are tender. Cool completely, remove the skin and slice thinly.

The pastry ( Pate Sablee): 8 oz of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature, 2 tbsp of sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt.

Place the sugar, salt and flour in a bowl and mix well. Slowly add the butter a little at a time, and mix well until the dough sticks together. Place the dough on the roulpat, and flatten until it is the size of the tart. Roll the roulpat with the dough on it, and place in the fridge to cool. After 10 minutes, take the dough back out, and place it into the tart tray. Perfore the dough to prevent air pockets. Lay baking beads or dry beans all over the dough to prevent the dough to rise during baking. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Let it cool. Remove the baking beads or dry beans. Fill with the creme patissiere.

Ingredients for the filling ( Creme Patissiere) :3/4 cup of brown sugar, 4 1/2 tbsp of all-purpose flour, 3 cups of fat-free milk or reduced milk, 1 piece of vanilla bean, 2 tbsp of vanilla extract, 2 eggs.

Bring the milk, vanilla, vanilla bean,  sugar & a pinch of salt to a gentle boil in a pot. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until the mixture becomes pale and light. Stir in the flour slowly until it is thoroughly mixed with the egg mixture. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk and scrape the seeds out with the tip of a knife. Drop the seeds into the milk and stir. Pour the boiling milk into the mixture a little by little while whisking continuously to avoid curdling. And then stir in the rest of the milk until the mixture is well combined. Transfer the whole mixture into a pot and heat it under low setting. Stir it constantly with a wooden spoon  until it thickens. Once the custard has thickened, take it off the heat, pour it into a clean bowl and let it cool down. Once cooled, cover it with a plastic wrap and refrigerate it until needed.

Pour the cream over the dough, and lay the pears over the creme patissiere. Sprinkle with brown sugar, and with a kitchen torch heat the sugar until it caramelizes. Enjoy!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!