If you cannot find blanched slivered almonds, use whole blanched almonds, but chop them coarsely before processing. The pears should be ripe but firm.
Poached Pear-Almond Tart with California Figs
A poached pear tart makes a pretty dessert with pears fanning on top. Flecked with California dried figs, this pear tart entices with the flavors of fall.
Servings 10 people
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter cut into 1/4" pieces and chilled
Poached Pears, Filling and Glaze:
- 1 bottle white wine
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 strips fresh lemon zest
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 vanilla bean halved lengthwise, seeds removed and reserved
- 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 pears Bosc or Bartlett, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds blanched
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp table salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces and softened
- 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs stemmed and chopped into 1/4" pieces
- 1/4 cup apple jelly
For the tart shell:
- Whisk the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla together in small bowl. Process the flour, sugar, and salt together in food processor until combined. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses.
- With the machine running, add the egg mixture through the feed tube and continue to process until the dough just comes together around the processor blade, about 12 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into 6-inch disk. Wrap the dough tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Before rolling the dough out, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Roll the dough out to an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured counter and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Set the tart pan on a large plate and freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes.
- Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set the tart pan on baking sheet. Press a double layer of foil into the frozen tart shell and over the edges of the pan and fill with pie weights. Bake until the tart shell is golden brown and set, about 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and carefully remove the weights and foil. Let the tart shell cool completely on the baking sheet, about 1 hour.
For the poached pears:
- Meanwhile, bring the wine, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, vanilla seeds, peppercorns, cloves, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes. Add the pears, return to a brief simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and poach the pears, turning them occasionally, until tender and a skewer can be inserted into each pear with little resistance, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the pears cool in the poaching liquid, about 1 hour.
For the filling and glaze:
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse almonds, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add the egg and extracts and process until combined, about 10 seconds. Add the butter and process until no lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Spread the mixture evenly into the cooled tart shell. Sprinkle figs over almond mixture in even layer.
- Remove the cooled pears from the poaching liquid and pat them dry thoroughly with paper towels.
- Slice each halved poached pear crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices from the narrow end. Do not separate the slices. Slide a thin spatula under the sliced pears and gently lay it in the center of the tart. Working with the remaining pear halves one at a time, slide the spatula under each pear and press on the slices to fan them towards the narrow end.
- Lay the fanned pear halves attractively around the tart, with the narrow ends pointed towards the pear in the center.
- Bake the tart on baking sheet until the almond filling is puffed, browned, and firm to the touch, about 40 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack.
- Melt the jelly in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to smooth out any lumps. Brush the glaze over the pears and let the tart cool completely on the baking sheet, about 1 1/2 hours.
- To serve, remove the outer metal ring of the tart pan, slide a thin metal spatula between the tart and the tart pan bottom, and carefully slide the tart onto a serving platter or cutting board.
- Make Ahead: The tart dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let the dough thaw completely on the counter before rolling it out. The poached pears, submerged in the poaching liquid, can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The almond filling can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Once baked, the tart can be wrapped loosely with plastic wrap and held at room temperature for up to 4 hours before serving.
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