Sunday, November 15, 2015

PEAR TART

Mascarpone is a creamy Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. The cows are fed special grasses filled with herbs and flowers so they produce milk that is perfect for making this cheese. Mascarpone cheese can be found in grocery stores in 8-ounce (250-ml) containers.
Crostata di Pere.


1 ¼ cups (310 ml) pastry or all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 ml) granulated sugar
1 t (5 ml) finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
4 T (60 ml) cold unsalted butter (½ stick), cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
¼ cup (60 ml) cold cream or half-and-half (half cream)

Place the flour, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine.
Add the butter and pulse a few more seconds.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolk and cream until combined.
With the motor running, pour the egg yolk mixture down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough comes together.

Turn out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap up, flattening and forming the dough into a disc. Chill for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) degrees.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the pastry out to fit a 9-inch (23-cm), removable-bottom tart pan. Press the dough carefully up the sides, then roll off overhang with your rolling pin and remove.
Cut a round piece of parchment paper, to fit in the bottom and up the sides of the dough. Place over the dough and add about 2 cups (500 ml) pie weights or dried beans on top of the parchment paper. 
Bake the crust for 20 minutes.
Let cool slightly and remove paper and weights.

Mascarpone Cheese Filling
¾ cup (175 ml) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
¼ cup (60 ml) granulated sugar
1 egg
½ t (2 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 T (15 ml) flour

In a medium bowl, stir together the mascarpone cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla, and flour until well combined. Pour into the cooled tart shell and smooth the surface.

3 medium-size ripe Anjou or Bosc pears
¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted hazelnuts, chopped
2 T (30 ml) granulated sugar

3 T (45 ml) apricot jelly
2 T (30 ml) Calvados or peach brandy

Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C) degrees.

Peel and cut the pears in half and remove the core with a melon baller or a spoon.
Arrange in the tart shell with the narrower ends pointing towards center.
If necessary, trim the pears to fit into the tart.
Scatter the hazelnuts over the pears and sprinkle the sugar on top.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until golden and the pears are soft.

Heat the apricot jelly in a small saucepan, or microwave it just until warm.
Turn off heat and add the Calvados or peach brandy and mix to combine.
Brush over the pears.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6



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