...poached pear and brown butter tart...

The name seems to say it all, no?  I made this for easter, and then again for a party last week.  I think it stands up well and looks pretty and to me is something you could buy in a bakery for $4 a slice, or something like that.

It's a bit time intensive, but I think it pays off.  Recipe thanks to Food and Wine.


  1. Cooking spray
  2. 13/4 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
  6. 1 large egg yolk mixed with 4 tablespoons of ice water

For the Pears
  1. 6 cups water
  2. 2 cups semidry white wine, such as Riesling
  3. 2 cups sugar
  4. 1 sage leaf
  5. 4 whole cloves
  6. One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  7. 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  8. 4 Bosc pears—peeled, quartered and cored

  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (or vanilla bean paste)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour


  1. {Make the Crust} preheat the oven to 375°. Spray an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with vegetable oil spray. In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar and salt and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until comes together a bit. Lift the lid and sprinkle with the egg- yolk mixture. Pulse 5 or 6 times, until the dough is crumbly and comes together even more.
  2. Pour the dough into the prepared tart pan and press to form an even crust. Use a flat-bottomed glass dipped in flour to tamp it down. Bake the crust in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until it is golden brown. Lower the oven temperature to 350°.
  3. {Poach the Pears} In a large saucepan, combine the water with the wine, sugar, sage, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla bean and seeds or paste and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the quartered pears. Cover with a large sheet of parchment paper and a lid slightly smaller than the saucepan and cook over moderate heat until the pears are just softened, 25 to 30 minutes.  If you don't have parchment, that's ok, although it does help them steam well. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the poached pears to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool slightly. Cut each wedge in half lengthwise.
  4. {Make the filling} In a small skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 4 minutes; pour browned butter into a small cup. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar, vanilla seeds, orange zest and salt. Add the flour and beat at low speed until smooth. Add the brown butter and beat the filling at low speed until incorporated.
  5. Pour the filling into the baked crust. Arrange all but 3 of the pear wedges on the custard in a slightly overlapping circle, with the narrow ends pointing toward the center. Trim the remaining 3 pear wedges and arrange them neatly in the center. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, until the custard is golden and set. Let the pear tart cool completely before serving.

You may end up not using all of the pears- that's ok.  I've made this a few times and had leftovers.  If and when you do, just save them and eat them up alone or with some cottage cheese.

Enjoy and don't be shy to impress your friends with this dish!  I think you can make it even 2 days before serving- it stands up really well!

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