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PEAR, THYME AND HAZELNUT TART

Yield: 6-8 SERVINGS

Prep time: 30 MIN

Cook time: 30 MIN

Cooling time: 1HR

Total time: 2 HR

Thyme adds an intriguing savory note to this burnt-butter tart, and poaching the pears in wine adds a further savory element. Start this tart a day ahead to rest the pastry, and serve it with a dollop or two of crème fraîche.

 

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE HAZELNUT PASTRY:

80 gm roasted hazelnuts

200 gm (1 cups) plain flour

110 gm pure icing sugar, sieved

125 gm chilled butter, diced

2 egg yolks

FOR THE POACHED PEARS:

400 ml semi-dry white wine, such as riesling

400 gm raw caster sugar

Thinly peeled rind and juice of ½ orange and ½ lemon

3 thyme sprigs

2 cinnamon quills

4 ripe pears (such as Josephine), peeled, cored and quartered

FOR THE FILLING:

80 gm chilled butter, diced

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

110 gm raw caster sugar

Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean

Finely grated rind of ½ orange

1 tsp thyme, plus extra to serve

50 gm (⅓ cup) plain flour

2 tbsp crème fraîche

 

DIRECTIONS:

TO MAKE THE HAZELNUT PASTRY:

For hazelnut pastry, finely process hazelnuts in a food processor, add flour, sugar and a pinch of salt, and process to combine. Add butter, process to fine crumbs then add yolks and process until the dough just comes together. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm-thick round, then line a 23cm-diameter, 3cm-deep tart tin and trim edges. Refrigerate to rest for 1 hour, preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and blind-bake tart case until edges are lightly golden (6-8 minutes). Remove paper and weights, then bake until lightly golden and crisp (5-6 minutes).

TO MAKE THE POACHED PEARS:

For poached pears, bring wine, sugar, rinds, juices, thyme, cinnamon and 1 liter of water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Add pears, cover directly with baking paper, weight with a plate, reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender (25-30 minutes).

Remove 6 pear quarters with a slotted spoon, pat dry with paper towels, halve each lengthways and set aside. Refrigerate remaining pears in syrup.

 

TO MAKE THE FILLING:

Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant (3-4 minutes), pour into a bowl and set aside.

Whisk eggs, yolk, sugar, vanilla seeds, rind, thyme and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until fluffy (2-3 minutes), then whisk in flour on low speed.

Whisk in brown butter and crème fraîche, pour into the pastry case, arrange halved pear wedges on top and bake until set and golden (45-50 minutes).

Cool a little, then scatter with extra thyme and serve warm or at room temperature with crème fraîche and extra pears in syrup. This tart is best eaten on the day it’s made.

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