Pear and Raspberry Flan Tart

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.

Poached Pears

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.

Assemble Tart

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!


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50 Responses to “Pear and Raspberry Flan Tart”

  1. Anonymous says:

    it is very difficult to find good quality produce

    the sentiment that oranges and strawberries should be available year round corresponds to the general lack of quality…

    quality is also based on seasonality [freshness, essentially], which grocery stores try to dispel as a myth.

  2. Aran says:

    if you have had a chance to read through my blog, you will see i am very aware of seasonality. i grew up eating oranges only in the late fall and winter and strawberries in the spring.

    We are right in the middle of quince season so when i saw them in display at the store, i thought i was ok buying them. i expect produce managers to know that what they are selling is good. i bought six of them and they were all rotten. i would have never occurred to me to buy quince if they were not in season.

  3. ChichaJo says:

    Those tarts look so yummy and look gorgeous! Enjoy this special time with your parents, doing things you love, during the season you love :) Send a cool breeze my way please? :)

  4. Christy says:

    Sorry to hear about your quinces, Aran. The markets here don’t really overflow with quinces until high winter (June-July), and that’s when I usually buy them. Only then can I be sure of their quality and not be disappointed. But at the same time, i don’t believe that mainstream supermarkets should be selling fruits that are rotten on the inside, regardless of whether they are in or out of season.

    But your tarts look pretty with poached pear regardless…I guess you just have to wait a bit longer to make something out of quinces…and I’ll be looking forward to that!

  5. too bad for the quinces…and here we have so many in abundance. I love to keep a couple in my studio room just for the fragrance. but maybe this year, i’ll make some “pastel de membrillo”

  6. linda says:

    Strange about the quinces, always thought they travelled well and kept forever (but I’m no expert).
    Love the tartlets and love the poached pears inside.

  7. Maybe says:

    I discovered your blog a while ago but today is the first time I leave comments. I’m totally enchanted by your blog… I’m French too and wonder how is it to live in the US but apparently good products are harder to find there, contrary to France :o)

  8. Aran says:

    Maybe- Thanks so much for finally leaving a comment! I am actually from the Basque Country in the Spanish side, from Bilbao. I love living in the Us, this is where my home is now and there are many great things about it. But I would say, overall, the quality of produce in Europe (I can speak for the Basque Country) is much better than here. And I might get hate mail for it but that has been my experience. Thank you!

  9. your photos are always so stunning and so well organized! this tart is gorgeous, too of course! i am always so awed and inspired by your desserts. that is a bit odd about the quinces — once i left one in the walk-in just to see how long it lasted, and i believe it was about 4 months!

  10. Zoe Francois says:

    So elegant and so autumn! You are a master with your ingredients, leaving them true to their form, but just a little bit better!

  11. Bridget says:

    Gingerbread Sugar Dough….YUM!!! Beautiful as always, Aran! :)

  12. Eileen says:

    Your photos make me want to bake every recipe your post…

  13. veron says:

    I know what you mean about difficulty finding good produce. This is the supermarket world we live in. I do have some quince sitting on my counter but I do not know if they are good or not yet. Such lovely tarts, that crust looks might crunchy…such as a tart should be!

  14. Tea says:

    At home, quince jam is made each year. It’s something amazing! When I come back from winer break I can send you a jar! :)
    And even when we buy it in split (Croatia), they are always ”wormy”, but at least we know they haven’t been trated with pesticides!
    p.s The tarts look outstanding, I like the idea of the ginger crust.

  15. aran–these flan tarts look beautiful–and i’m going to send you some quince–they’re just about to com eout in the market! damn rotten quince!
    but to balance that out–how wonderful to be sharing such delicious treats with your beautiful family…
    xodeb

  16. nicisme says:

    Happy Halloween – the tarts look fabulous!

  17. What a beautiful treat! Looks so sweet and delicious <3

  18. cindy* says:

    i agree about the nasty produce…the same happened to me with some apples last week and apples are supposed to speak fall! sorry about your quince, but the tarts are just lovely, beautiful aran!

  19. Inne says:

    Quince or pear, the tartlets look wonderful Aran.

    I have to say English supermarkets aren’t much better: produce is selected only based on its looks, not taste. As long as the carrots are straight and the apples round without any blemishes and x% red plus x% green surface, who cares about the taste. Luckily there are plenty of markets and fr&veg delivery options out here.

    Happy Halloween to you too!

  20. mayan. says:

    It only takes a quick glance for me to identify a new photo as yours, your style is always so impeccable and unique. The tarts look lovely…and of course, delicious.

  21. Mobula says:

    Aran, te entiendo perfectamente, desde que me apasiona la cocina intento por todos los medios comprar la fryta y la verdura de temporada pero en ocasiones es difícil, en las islas nos llega casi toso por mar y av eces no en las mejores condiciones, pr eso me gusta tanto el Pais Vasco, vas a cualquier mercado local y lo que encuentrs es fresquísimo.

    Me pasaba con las fresas, por ejemplo, aqui las venden todo el año pero me he dado cuenta que cuando mejor están es en su época, asi que las fresas de febreo a abril. Rojas y jugosas.

    Las tartaletas,como a mi me gustan asi que dentro de poco las haré

    Besos,

    Ana

  22. paula says:

    your photos make me melt and i am sure the food would too.

  23. Disfruta de la visita d tus papas que yo disfruto de tus postres y fotos!

  24. That crust sounds amazing!

  25. nadia says:

    Gorgeous! i love these flavors. and the colors together has inspired me…

  26. CFF says:

    You certainly shouldn’t get hate mail — supermarket produce in the U.S. is just awful. Much better in Europe (France, at least – my only substantive experience with European markets). I always return bad fruit to the supermarket – mealy peaches, unripened strawberries, etc. Have never had a problem doing so, and I always hope that it brings to the store’s attention that their produce is (often) awful!

  27. Living in San Francisco, I love scarves and bundling up!

    Bad quince would absolutely be a heartbreaker. Here’s hoping some bright fragrant ones come your way soon.

    Wonderful fresh fruit is a mainstay for any pastry chef. Seeing what appears each week is what makes it so much fun to prepare pastry. You are among the best at selecting perfect fruit at the height of the season and making the absolute most of it. Abrazos y besos.

  28. Simone says:

    After visiting your blog for quite some time without leaving any comment it’s about time… Your blog is just too wonderful Aran! I am always looking forward to each new post. Thank you for sharing all those great recipes and gorgeous pics!!

  29. Tartelette says:

    It is high time that store owners realized that the flood gates of the culinary orld have been opened for quite some time now and that they are dealing with customers who are demanding more than canned mandarin and fruit cocktail. What has happened to accountability?
    Here is another one: what is it here with Tchernobyl sized fruits and veggies?

  30. ooooh the sprinkled pistachios look like gold dusts. cuuute.

    :)

    oh thank you—im glad i can make you laugh, thanks for the writing confidence booster!

  31. Claudia says:

    Caríssima Aran,

    Behind the beauty and flavors of every simple recipe lays a world of culture, trade and power. There is more to seasonality than the seasons of the North hemisphere can understand.

    The perverse logic of trade and products marketing is unbearable for most people. We, ex-pats as you say, live face-to-face to it and somehow challenge it at a daily basis, and no matter how much you and I aim at adopting someone else’s country as our own.

    I write to you as I talk to myself the same thing everyday.

    I am a daughter of the tropical South and things can be even more perverse for me.

    Claudia

  32. Claudia says:

    Aran,

    I forgot to mention one thing. You Basques are some of the oldest traders of the Western world, the first people to trade products from the Americas in a regular basis, long before Columbus could dream about the discovery of the continent. You carry the history of the port of Bilbao on your back girl.

    It is pretty understandable that you praise diversity of products quality. It is in your blood!

    Cheers!

    Claudia

  33. Amber says:

    Your blog brings me peace and beauty every time I read it. Thank you.

  34. chefectomy says:

    Hi Aran,

    I’ve missed you and your blog since you left for your trip I have not been back until today. As usual the food you make looks so wonderful in your photos. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your stories and photos about the Basque country. I had to stop and do a double take of the photo in San Sebastian on the beach. It reminds me of a wonderful day I shared with my young daughter a few years ago at the carousel that is close by. I am glad you are back and writing, clearly you have been busy.

    Regards,

    Marc

  35. Aran,

    Two days ago it also happened with me… I’ve bought peaches that were all rotten inside…
    I truly can understand your displeasure about all this. I hate to throw away money this way…

    Your tarts are divine!!
    Everything you do is so delicate…

    I love the pear and raspberry combination!

  36. Ofcourse it looks amazing. Quince is hard to find almost everywhere. At least I have trouble. I mostly know people who know people who have trees.

  37. ainara says:

    aqui estoy en casa (casa-casa;) calentita en el escritorio de siempre con la lluvia y el viento contra la ventana… es una sensación increíble, es estar en otro tiempo, como suspendido y denso… y viendo además tu blog me he dado cuenta de que tengo muchas ganas de verte… a ver si en el 2009 lo consigo! un mosu potolote

  38. Camille says:

    I agree, finding produce that is fresh is very hard. I try to go to our local farms as much as possible, but that limits the variety. The best produce I ever had was when I lived in Southern California.

    I hate wasting money and the last time I bought bad produce I was so annoyed that I brought it back to the store! That is something my mother always told me to do, but I never did until recently.

  39. Aran says:

    Ainara! Yo tambien! A ver si nos vemos en NYC! me haria una ilusion…

  40. Autumn is my favourite season as well. I love the colors and flavours you used in this dish. It looks incredible!

  41. tarts are my favorite desert and anything with berries is so good. You truly are my inspiration. I bought a food mill (to make applesauce from the roasted apples), and I have invested in vanilla bean…I love the photos in this post…they have a certain quality that I enjoy in photography. I am doing ‘kitchen poetry’ week on my blog this week…a daily picture of a moment in my kitchen…I am looking forward to it. (not necessarily food related…just a moment in the kitchen).

  42. I love autumn too, such a lovely time of year.

    This tart looks fabulous and I just adore your pics, you’re such a talented photographer.

  43. Sam says:

    Dear Aran,
    I recently discovered your blog and I adore you’re recipes and pictures. It all looks so tranquille.
    A year ago I moved from Europe to another continent (not u.s.) and I’m struggling to find good produce. I used to shop regularly in supermarkets and the quality was good. We’d had farmers markets al year round. Here, I think, nearly 90% is imported and there are nearly no (produce) changes during the seasons. This has really affected my cooking, It’s quite hard to get inspired if you have to cook / bake with the same veggies & fruits al year round.

  44. that is so frustrating and i had a similar thing happen just last week!

    i found the readers comments interesting because, what i think i’m seeing, is that it’s all relative to the area. i am from new england and now live in northern france and i seem to have to work much harder in france to find good produce. not that it’s not there, it’s just less evident or harder to get too. where i grew up in the u.s., we were lucky enough to have lots of options for unusual varieties of produce and plenty of seasonal and local resources. so that’s been my experience.

    but, in any case, thank you for sharing all your gorgeous adventures in food with us – it is truely inspiring!

  45. Angela says:

    These tarts are beautiful, Aran. I really love that you save leftover components and turn them into new and even more amazing creations. I would never have thought to use sugar-cookie dough as a tart crust–what a fantastic idea!!

  46. Andrew says:

    Looks amazing!
    Is this recipe for a 9″ tart?

  47. Aran says:

    Andrew- this custard amount makes 2-4″ individual tarts. thanks!

  48. Anonymous says:

    Aran, I recently discovered your blog and am pretty sad I didn’t know about it earlier so I am catching up and reading all I can. ;-)

    I have given up on supermarket produce here in the US – only CSA, farmer’s markets and really good quality smaller markets…but I live in California so that’s easier to come by…I lived in Madrid many years ago and lo que has dicho de la comida en Espana y por Europa creo que es la verdad, es mas disponible, aqui tienes que montar una investigacion muy dura, je, je, je…besos, Jenn

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