Author Notes: I was politely asked to make another tart similar to the tart I made a few weeks ago. "Keep the filling and the crust, but use a different fruit." Well, this contest gave me the chance to try pears, and so off I went, or as Reagan said to Jimmy Carter, "There you go again." Back when I was less concerned about my weight, I used to smear Nutella on bread, biscuits, and just about anything that sounded reasonable; so that was on my list of ingredients. Thinking that I would make the almond crust a bit more delicate, and that I would like to include some maple syrup into the tart, I embarked upon this effort that was well received by the Chief Taster and Requester. - Bevi
Makes 6 to 8 servings
For the poached pears and the tart crust
- 1 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cold butter, diced in pieces
- dashes salt
- 2 tablespoons Nutella, at room temperature.
- 4 Anjou or Bosc pears - firm and not quite ripe, peeled whole, and rubbed with lemon juice
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons pear brandy
- lemon juice as needed
- Mix together the almond meal, flour, butter, egg, sugar and dash of salt in a stand up mixer using a paddle attachment. Press the dough into an 8 or 9 inch tart pan. Prick the bottom of the crust with fork tines. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes. Check to make sure the sides of the crust do not burn - cover with foil if necessary. Take the crust out of the oven and allow to cool thoroughly. When crust is completely cool, spread the Nutella on the bottom of the crust with an offset or rubber spatula. Place in the refrigerator to allow the Nutella to harden.
- While the crust is baking, make the poached pears. Add the water and sugar to a 3 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved and add pear brandy, as well as about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and immediately reduce the heat. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Place the pears in the poaching liquid, and poach for about 5 minutes. Remove the pears from the liquid, and allow them to cool in the refrigerator.
- Continue to cook down the poaching liquid until it is quite syrupy. Place in a non-reactive bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator.
For the tart filling and the maple almond brittle
- 8 ounces Mascarpone
- 4 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
- 1 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 3 tablespoons Nutella, at room temperature
- Mix 1 tablespoon of maple syrup into the Mascarpone until combined. Spread in the cooled tart shell.
- Slice the cooled pears in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and core with a small spoon. Slice the pear halves, cut side down, crosswise, but leave in place as illustrated in the photo. With a metal spatula, carefully lift each sliced pear half and place on the tart filling, leaving room for a pear half in the middle of the tart. You will actually use 7 halves.
- Place the 3 tablespoons of Nutella into a non-gussetted plastic sandwich bag and squeeze it into one corner. This will be your makeshift pastry bag. Cut a tiny snip off the corner to make a hole. Squeezing out the Nutella, make a design on each of the poached pears. You can squeeze any remaining Nutella back into the product container. Place the tart in the refrigerator to set overnight.
- The next day, finish off the tart. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet on top of parchment paper. Drizzle the maple syrup over the almonds, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the maple syrup is bubbly and darker in color. Take the brittle out to cool completely.
- Take the tart and the cooled poaching syrup out of the refrigerator. With a pastry brush, lightly coat each pear with the syrup.
- Wrestle the cooled brittle off the parchment paper with an offset metal spatula. ( I say "wrestle," but you may have an easier experience. You probably will.) Using a small paring knife, wedge a piece of brittle between 2 slices on each pear half.
- Serve cold.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Maple Recipe
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Pears