vanilla bean cream pear tart

Wednesdays are my favorite day of the work week. It’s not just because it signifies that the week is half over (hooray!) but because Denver’s Botanical Gardens at Chatfield bring a huge bounty of beautiful produce from their organic gardens to set up a farmstand right at my work! This week they had these stunning autumn pears and I am so glad that I got there when they first opened, because they were gone in minutes. Then I got to spend the rest of the week daydreaming about what pear combination I should experiment with.

Wednesdays are my favorite day of the work week. It’s not just because it signifies that the week is half over (hooray!) but because Denver’s Botanical Gardens at Chatfield bring a huge bounty of beautiful produce from their organic gardens to set up a farmstand right at my work! This week they had these stunning autumn pears and I am so glad that I got there when they first opened, because they were gone in minutes. Then I got to spend the rest of the week daydreaming about what pear combination I should experiment with.

I decided to stick to an autumn palette of warm spices, walnuts, vanilla bean and of course, pears. The vanilla bean cream was the trickiest part for me. I made quite a few variations before I got a cream that was creamy, obviously, but also held it’s shape really well. I would say this cream is a cross between a creme patisserie and a custard tart filling; its not too sweet and holds it shape perfectly once set and cooled. I was very particular about the crust for this tart, I wasn’t looking for the typical pastry tart crust but a spice-y and nutty shortbread type crust that you press into the pan. It also took a little bit of time for me to find a good pear slice shape I liked! I ended up quartering them lengthwise first and then slicing the quarter about 1/8” thick, again slicing lengthwise. I would get 3-4 slices per quarter and I would eat the rest. I only cored them if there was a seed or the core area was really thick. Ok, now to the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium pears

  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

For the tart crust:

  • 240g all purpose flour

  • 2 T. sugar

  • 1 c. butter, room temperature (store-bought or homemade)

  • 1-1/2 t. apple pie spice

  • 1/2 t. salt

  • 1/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped

For the pastry cream:

  • 2 c. almond milk (or your favorite plant based milk)

  • 1/2 butter (store-bought or homemade)

  • 100g sugar

  • 5 T. cornstarch

  • 2 t. vanilla bean paste or high-quality vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Start preparing your tart crust. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, spices and salt and whisk together, stir in the walnuts. Add the butter and slowly incorporate into the flour mixture by hand or with a fork/spatula. Spray your tart pan with a non-stick spray (I love Baker’s Joy). Start pressing your dough into the tart pan, if it is too sticky, pop the dough in the fridge for 5 minutes to let it firm up just a little. Pressing your dough into the pan takes a little white to get it even and up the sides so it is all the same thickness, about 1/4”, use your fingers or a fork to slowly press the dough. Once it is an even thickness on the bottom and up the sides, run a sharp knife over the top of the edging to get a nice even edge and get rid of any excess dough.

  2. Blind bake your dough for 10-15 minutes. Dough will not be completely done, and still soft. Set tart crust aside.

  3. In a medium saucepan on medium heat add the almond milk, butter, sugar and cornstarch. Stir the mixture constantly until it comes to a boil. Once at a boil cook for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is nice and think like pudding. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside.

  4. Slice your pears, I did not peel mine. Once you have all your slices ready, pour the cream into your crust and smooth evenly with a spatula. Arrange your pear slices however you like. I fanned them out in a circle starting on the outer edge and then creating another circle towards the center.

  5. Bake your tart at 350 for 50-60 minutes until creme mixture is bubbling. After about 45 minutes I pulled the tart out far enough to brush some melted butter on the pears – do this VERY gently so you dont mess up your design. If you want your tart a little browner, at the end of baking put it under the broiler for 4-5 minutes.

  6. Take your tart out of the oven and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds if you would like and let cool for 3-4 hours before serving. The tart is also wonderful covered in plastic wrap and chilled overnight!

Happy Baking!

Happy Baking!

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Tracy
Tracy
3 years ago

I made this tart for a Holiday dinner party and my guest were very impressed, as I’m not a seasoned baker. Although a little nervous if I could pull it off with no back up plan, after viewing this recipe It looked very easy to follow. I was worriered there wasn’t going to be enough crust to spread up the sides of the pan, yet I stuck with it and slowly the crust spread out perfectly to fit the entire pan. The pears baked up to have a great texture and the finsihed tart was firm and cut beautifully. Placed… Read more »

Welcome!

Welcome!

Hi, I’m Jamison! This blog is mostly a collection of my favorite recipes with some home/lifestyle stories thrown in for fun. I focus on creating plant-based recipes that will please the pickiest of eaters!

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