As I mentioned in the previous blog this tart recipe has been in my husband’s family for generations; I did completely change the custard and originally the pears were only an accent. I am almost sure each generation has added their mark. Since Sydney adores almond paste and crème frâiche we adapted the flavors for her.
This tart has some history since it has been in our generation. About three years ago DF bought me a beautiful cake stand (I collect them). This particular stand is a beautiful Jay Strongwater light colored brown glass, the bottom has an inverted cone shape (when turned upside down), the edges are rimless with long gems hanging form the plate. I could not wait to clear the table and bring the desserts out, especially the Caramelized Almond-Pear tart resting on my exquisite new stand. I carefully lifted the 10-inch tart off the removable bottom tart pan, centered the tart, carried the Almond-Tart to the Thanksgiving dessert table. Everyone had coffee, dessert forks and plates; Sydney and I were meticulous when setting the table: then it happened I bent down slightly to place the tart on the table and to my horror the delicate tart, Sydney’s favorite dessert slid straight off the stand and fell on the table. It didn’t gracefully fall either, in reality it almost slid to the other side, any further and it would have landed in my brother-in-law’s lap. I could feel my cheeks turning red; everyone was laughing and told me not to worry about it. However when my guest picked their forks up and started to eat the tart of the tablecloth I couldn’t help but start to laugh at this sight. The cake stand though it is amazingly visually pleasing did not have a rim. I should have thought about the structure and been more careful, but you live and learn.
Caramelized Pears and Almond Filing:
198 grams/ 7 ounce almond paste
14 grams/ 1- Tablespoon Amaretto
1 large egg
2 large yolks
55 grams/ ¼ -cup heavy cream
55 grams/ ¼ -cup crème fraiche
61 grams/ ¼ -cups whole milk
99 grams/ ½ -cup brown sugar
59 grams/ ¼ -cup water
3 D’Anjou pears, hard
3 red pears, hard
28 grams/2-Tablespoons Calvados
15 grams/1-Tablespoon dark rum
Prepare your mise en place for the custard and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F. (If you are making the filling the same day as the crust just reduce the oven temperature).
In a food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade combine almond paste, amaretto, egg yolks, egg, heavy cream, crème fraiche, and whole milk.
Pulse until completely smooth, check for almond paste clumps.
Transfer the Almond custard into a measuring jug, it make it easier and cleaner to pour into the tart shell.
Pour the almond crème into the tart pan starting in the center.
Continue to pour until all the custard is evenly in the tart.
Bake the tart in the reduced 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F oven for 15 minutes, or just until the mixture sets. Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool on a wire rack.
In the meantime start the flaming pears.
Peel and cut the pears in lengthwise with a sharp knife or use a mandoline for precise cuts.
In a skillet add brown sugar and water and turn on the stove to medium high, when the syrup starts to bubble add the pears.
Once the syrup turns dark, thick, and bubbly pour in the dark rum (off the heat) first, flame, and reduce to a simmer. Wait till the flame dissipates and add the Calvados (off the heat). Flame the pears and reduce to a simmer, allowing the flame to dissipate once again. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Arrange the pears on top of the almond crème filling, with the narrow ends pointing towards the center, spoon the caramelized liquid over the top. Allow the tart to sit until the liquid hardens slightly.
Place in the refrigerator or serve once the caramel sets. This tart can be served at room temperature or cold, this is a personal preference.