February 27th, 2009


Fine Pear Tart

I’m very excited about this fine pear tart.Firstly I had made a fresh batch of rough puff pastry and was very pleased with myself. Secondly I have finally followed a recipe from one of the over 200 cookbooks in our collection, now that is a achievement in itself. The recipe is taken from the book ‘ Under Pressure’ written by Thomas Keller. Well I have not followed the recipe word for word, but the excitement of twisting and tuning it by using native conference pears is wildly attractive.

It’s perhaps an unconventional way to prepare the pears  but I am smitten with this method. You do not cook the pears but  by vacuuming them hard  the texture softens almost as if it where poached but the flavour is incredibly intense and fresh. I have chosen conference pears as they are firm, packed with flavour, rustic and most importantly they are British. Go on and do your bit to support our local farmers!

I can already hear the comments that you do not have a vacuum packing machine. You can still make this recipe but you will have to poach the pears in a stock syrup flavoured with lemon.Enjoy these delicious and very sexy fine pear tarts.


Conference Pears Under Pressure

  • 2 conference pear
  • 100g caster sugar

Choose  firm but ripe pears.

Peel the pears, remove the seeds and stalk. Cut the pears in ¼’s and cut each ¼ in half.

Place the pears in two vacuum packing bags and add half the sugar to each bag and seal under hard vacuum.

Refrigerate the pears for a minimum of 12 hours before use, this will soften the pears and give the illusion of poached pears.

Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Most importantly you must prepare all three components for this recipe before you start to put it together.

Take the rough puff pastry out of the fridge a half hour before using.

On a lightly floured surface roll the pastry out to ½ cm thick. Cut 16cm x 16cm squares. Place the squares on the lined baking sheet.

Whisk the egg yolk lightly with a fork and brush the whole square with egg and refrigerate for half an hour before baking.

Spread 30g pastry cream on each pastry square. Leave a 1cm rim for the borders.

Drain the pears on kitchen paper and arrange 4 slices of pear on each square of pastry. Let the thin part of the pear hand over one edge, it gives the tart a rustic look.

Place the baking sheet on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven, increase the heat to 200°C, lightly dust the tarts with Demerara sugar and return the tray to the oven for a further 8 minutes. Watch that the pastry does not burn, take them out earlier if needed.

Place the tarts on a cooling rack to cool. Serve warm or cold.

Makes 4 individual tarts.

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