Have I mentioned how I love autumn? The cool weather we have had the last few days has only magnified this sentiment. Mornings with bright blue skies and scarves make me happy. Very happy indeed. My parents are here, the weather is beautiful and I am lucky to be able to dedicate my time to the things I love the most. I feel very blessed.
For this tart, I used some leftover gingerbread sugar dough I had. The tart shell is blind baked, then filled with a vanilla bean and kirsch custard, fresh raspberries and topped with pear slices that I previously poached in a vanilla bean syrup. This tart is best served slightly warm.. it melts.
Originally, I intended to make this flan tart using some quince I found at the supermarket a few days ago. I wanted to slowly poach them in a vanilla syrup and use them as the topping as I had seen in Christine Ferber’s “Mes Tartes” book. However, as often times happens with not very popular produce bought at mainstream supermarkets, the quince were rotten inside. Brown and dry. I really get upset when this happens and not only because I wasted money on rotten food, but mainly, because it brings light to the fact that in this country, it is very difficult to find good quality produce. Why is that? I know there are great farms in this country, yet the produce available to us is very poor. Should I just surrender to the fact that I live in Florida and that the quince I so desire must travel great lengths to get to me? I think I’m just spoiled.
500 grams water
250 grams demerara sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
2 Anjou pears (ripe but still firm)
Place the water, sugar and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and when sugar is dissolved, lower heat.
Peel and cut the pears in half. Remove the core with a melon baller. Place the pears in the syrup and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until tender. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Vanilla and Kirsch Custard
100 grams heavy cream
100 grams whole milk
6 egg yolks
50 grams sugar
30 grams kirsch
1 vanilla bean, seeded
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the cream, whole milk, kirsch and vanilla bean seeds and whisk.
Roll gingerbread sugar dough to about 1/8″ thick. Fill tart pan with dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Dock the bottom of the dough with a fork and blind bake at 350F for about 15-20 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated long enough and if it’s not overmixed, it will not shrink in the oven so I generally do not use pie weights. Let the baked tart shell cool.
Fill the tarts with fresh raspberries. Pour the custard in the tart shell to the top. Place thinly sliced poached pears on top and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a 325F oven for about 25-30 minutes until the sides start to turn golden brown.
Happy Halloween everyone!