Remember the rest of the pears from Pear and Almond Cake? Yep, I finally got around to deciding what to do with them – poached pear and pistachio tart. This tart is a bit more laborious than the pear and almond cake, but it looks and tastes more sinful than the cake.
The pears for this recipe had to be poached in red wine and set aside for at least four hours in the refrigerator. I opted to have it there overnight. I did that for the pistachio cream as well. The following day, I just made and baked the pastry, assembled everything, chill it for an hour and then serve.
The hardest part for me was when I was assembling the tart. You see, I poached a kilo of pears and even before I started slicing them, I could already tell that I would only be using half of them. So, I started eating some of the poached pears (YUM!). Since I left it overnight, the flavor of the red wine, orange and lemon were quite intense – it was difficult for me not to eat more than half. 😉 (Hey, there were small pears after all 🙂 )
Admittedly, this tart is better suited for special occasions. Or if you are like me, during those days when you just want to do something different, but rewarding. 🙂 When you bring the finished product to the table for serving, your guests’ reaction will ALWAYS be good – trust me on that one. 😀
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Poached Pear and Pistachio Tart
For Poached Pears:
- 3 cups red wine
- 1 medium orange zest, cut in big strips
- 1 lemon zest, cut in big strips
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 small pears, ripe and firm
- 1/2 medium orange, sliced into wedges
- 1/2 lemon
For Pistachio Pastry Cream:
- 1 cup pistachios, removed from shells and set some aside for serving (if desired)
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 1 and 1/3 cups milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tbsp cornstarch, sifted
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbsp butter, cold and unsalted, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup sour cream
For the Sauce (Optional):
- poaching liquid from the pears
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 9-inch Sweet Tart Dough, fully baked and cooled
To Poach the Pears:
- Combine the wine, zests, orange wedges and sugar in a big pot and bring to a boil. The pot should be big enough to fit all the pears.
- Peel the pears and rub them with the ½ lemon to avoid discoloration.
- Lower the heat in the pot and once the wine is simmering, put all the pears in the pot and cook until tender (around 15 to 20 minutes for small pears).
- Transfer the pears to a bowl or storage container, pour the poaching syrup on them and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
To Make the Pistachio Pastry Cream:
- Grind the shelled pistachios in a food processor. It should not be powdery, just finely grounded.
- Put the grounded pistachios, 3 tbsp sugar and milk in a small pot and bring to a boil.
- Put the egg yolks, 3 tbsp sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk. Add the vanilla and almond extract and continue whisking. Pour a bit of the warm milk into the mixture and continue whisking. Add the rest of the warm milk slowly, continue whisking in the process
- Put the mixture back in the small pot and bring to a boil. Do NOT stop whisking while doing this. Once it has boiled, whisk for another minute and then remove the pot from the heat.
- Transfer the cream to a bowl or storage container and once it has cooled down, put a piece of plastic on top (against the cream’s surface). Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
To Make the Sauce (Optional):
- Separate the pears from the poaching liquid and pour the liquid into a small pot. Add the honey and boil the mixture until it has turned into a syrup. Pour into a cup or serving container and refrigerate until needed.
- Cut the pears in half, lengthwise, remove the core and dry in a kitchen towel (or paper towel). Once the pears are considerably dry, cut each half into 4 slices.
- Take the pistachio cream out of the refrigerator and mix the ¼ sour cream. This will make the mixture slightly thinner. Spread the pistachio cream in the cooled tart shell.
- Arrange the pear slices on top of the pistachio cream, place them in overlapping circle.
- Serve with the sauce or add more pistachios on top, if desired.