a round of fruit – dulce pear tart

by hungryrabbit on October 17, 2013

Dulce Pear Tart

Pears stir up wonderful memories of my Mom. Dinner was not complete without a fruit course—or more accurately fruit courses. She would go to her favorite fruit vendors to hand select the best they have to offer, and since this was Hong Kong, the selections came from all over the world. Oranges from Spain. Melons from Japan. Kiwifruit from Australia.

After dinner, we would clear the table and then platters of fruit would cover the entire Lazy Susan. (In a Chinese household, it’s an essential device for serving the multiple dishes prepared for dinner, dim sum, or especially a holiday feast.) Each person would receive a small tray (in lieu of a plate) and a knife. We would pick our favorite fruit—my first choice was always the pear, which could be Anjou, Bosc, Bartlett or Asian—and start slicing, as the tray provided a resilient cutting surface and neatly held the running juices.

When Frog Hollow Farm contacted me about tasting their organic pears, I naturally thought of my childhood family table and agreed. Their Warren Pears are sweet, juicy and arrived in perfect condition. M and I sampled them– and immediately I knew I had to make a dessert with them. This Dulce Pear Tart may not conjure up Hong Kong, but it sure works for an adult palate.

Disclaimer: Frog Hollow Farm provided me with the pears, I was not monetarily compensated and all opinions in this post are my own.

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Dulce Pear Tart

yield: One 9-1/2-inch tart

Tart Dough

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, frozen
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3-6 tablespoons of ice water

Directions

1. In food processor, pulse flour and salt to combine. Scatter butter and shortening pieces over flour, then pulse until texture resembles coarse bread crumbs and butter pieces about the size of small peas remain, ten to twelve 1-second pulses. Sprinkle 3 tablespoon water over mixture and pulse until dough begins to form small curds and holds together when pinched with fingers. If necessary, add remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve result.

2. Empty dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap; dough will be crumbly Gather dough into a 6-inch disc by pulling up sides of plastic wrap and press lightly with your knuckles. Wrap dough with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold but malleable, about 45 minutes.

Note: If dough has chilled for longer than 45 minutes and has become too firm, let stand at room temperature counter 10-15 minutes until malleable.

3. Lightly dust the counter with flour and roll pastry dough into a 12-inch round disc. Transfer tart dough onto a 9 or 10-inch tart pan and trim excess dough with knife. Prick bottom of dough all over with tines of fork. Wrap in plastic and freeze for 20 minutes.

4. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400℉. Remove tart shell from freezer, line with parchment and filled pie weights. Bake until tart dough looks dry and lightly colored, about 25 minutes. Remove weights and paper, continue to bake until golden brown, about another 10-12 minutes longer. Transfer tart shell to wire rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Dulce de Leche Pastry Cream

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups unsweetened canned coconut milk
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons (1 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1-1/6 ounces) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
3/4 cup dulce de leche

Directions

1. Add coconut milk to a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Whisk egg, yolk, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in a 4-cup measuring cup until combined and smooth. Pour coconut milk in a steady stream into egg mixture , whisk constantly to temper the eggs, prevent them from curdling. Pour egg mixture back into saucepan and heat mixture on medium heat until it stars to bubble around the edge and thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter until combined. Place dulce de leche in a medium bowl and strain egg mixture over it. Whisk to combine until fully incorporate and smooth. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top and set aside to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: You will not use the entire batch of pastry cream.

Caramelized Pears

Ingredients

2-3 Anjou pears, ripe but still firm, peeled cored and cut into 8 wedges
2 tablespoons (1 ounces) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
Pinch of fine sea salt

Directions

1. In a large nonstick sauté pan, heat butter, sugar and salt over medium-high heat until sugar is melted and mixture starts to bubble. Increase heat to high and add pear wedges on one of their flat side. Sauté, undisturbed, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip pears onto the other flat side and continue to cook until golden, about another 2 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, let sit in pan to cool to room temperature.

Assembly

Ingredients

Pre-baked tart shell
Dulce de Leche Pastry Cream
Caramelized Pears

Directions

1. Filled tart shell with pastry cream, smooth top with small off-set spatula. Add caramelized pears on top of pastry cream in a decorative pattern,  be gentle not to tear the pear wedges. Serve.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Sacks October 18, 2013 at 9:54 am

This tart is a vision. So nice to learn the traditions behind the significance of pears for you. Lovely post, Ken!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I love pears too, and this recipe is lovely! I can’t wait to try :)

Dina October 22, 2013 at 7:34 pm

sounds like a delicious recipe!

Gina November 16, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Just stumbled upon your blog and going through every post. Love them all!!

Joy T December 23, 2013 at 11:29 am

Ken – going to make this for Christmas dinner… will it still keep well if I make the day before? I got some beautiful pears delivered and thought this recipe would be perfect.

hungryrabbit December 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Hi Joy, I recommend you make the tart, pastry cream and caramelized pears a head of time and assemble them the day of. This way you will not compromise the texture of each ingredient. Happy Baking and Merry Christmas. -Ken

Joy T December 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Ken – this recipe was a huge hit! I will definitely make again. I did make all the components the night before and assembled on Christmas day. The only thing I would change next time would be to caramelize the pears the same day for aesthetic purposes. Tasted great, just lost some of it’s beautiful glaze & sugar crispiness. Cheers!

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