Pear-custard tart

The idea for this baked pear-custard tart came from the book Cresci: The Art of Leavened Dough. Skimming through the ingredient list, I decided to use my own tart dough recipe and a basic custard mix. The amount of pears depend on the size of the baking pan, and need to be overlapped in a circle in tight formation, and also in the center if space allows. Select very firm, ripe fruit which will hold up through the baking time. For a neat finish to the tart edge, cut a circle out of baking parchment just large enough to cover the pears. Sift confectioner’s sugar through a sieve around the edges and gently lift paper circle away.

For the tart shell:

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
A good pinch of salt
4 oz. cold butter, in small dice
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add butter, egg, and yolk to the well and using your fingers or a pastry cutter, quickly work together into coarse meal, gather into a ball, and knead gently for a few minutes. A small amount of cold water can be added if needed. Wrap and refrigerate the dough for atleast 30 minutes before rolling out to fit a 9 or 10-inch tart pan. Return to the fridge and chill until firm.

For the custard filling:

Thoroughly combine the next 7 ingredients.
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream or quality rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of ground cinnamon
3 to 5 medium-size firm pears

Preheat oven to 350F. Peel, halve, core, and cut pears lengthwise into eight slices. Place tightly in a circle in prepared tart crust. Pour custard mix up to the rim and bake for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool for the custard to set up before serving.


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