Poached Pear and Plum Flan with Mango-Ginger Coulis
A shortbread crust and an almond paste filling are the base for this elegant flan of pears and plums, which is served with a sauce of fresh mango, rum, and ginger.
- Shortbread Dough
- Unbleached All-purpose flour - 2 cups
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1/2 cup, sifted
- Pinch of salt
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks), at room temperature, divided into 4 pieces
- Poached Pears
- Pinot Noir wine - 1 bottle
- Granulated Sugar - 2 cups
- Cinnamon Stick - one, 3-inch
- Whole Cloves - 6 to 8
- Ground nutmeg - 1 teaspoon
- Bosc Pears - 8, peeled but not cored
- Almond Paste Filling
- Almonds - 1/2 cup, slivered
- Egg - 1
- Unsalted Butter - 1-1/2 tablespoons
- Almond paste - 1/4 cup
- Almond Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Egg - 1
- Egg Yolk - 1
- Half-and-half - 1/2 cup
- Granulated Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Plums - 3 or 4, depending on size
- Mango-Ginger Coulis
- Ripe Mangos - 3
- Dark Rum - 2 tablespoons
- Granulated Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Fresh Ginger - 1 teaspoon, minced, peeled
- Sifted confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Fresh flowering borage sprigs - 12, or other edible flowers
To make the shortbread dough: Place the flour, confectioner’s sugar, salt, and vanilla in a food processor and pulse 3 times. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and process until a ball forms. Or, to make by hand, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter and vanilla into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Be careful not to overblend. This dough freeze well; return to room temperature before using.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 6-by-12-inch rectangular tart pan with a removeable bottom with vegetable oil spray and blot out any excess. Make 1-inch-thick ropes of the dough and press them around the sides of the tart pan. If the dough is too sticky to work with, chill it for a few minutes or dust some flour on your fingers. Press the remaining dough into the bottom of the pan, being careful to press it evenly, starting from the middle and working out to the edges. The dough should be about 1/4-inch thick. Run your finger across the top edge of the tart pan to remove the excess dough. Any trimmings may be baked into cookies. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then let cool on a rack.
To poach the pears: In a medium saucepan, bring the wine, sugar, and spices to a boil. Add the pears and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, turning occasionally, until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let the pears cool in the poaching liquid, then transfer to a non-aluminum container. Pour the poaching liquid over the pears, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
To make the almond paste filling: Place the almonds in a blender or food processor and grind into a fine meal. Add the egg and butter and process until incorporated. Add the almond paste and almond extract and process until combined.
To assemble the flan: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, half-and-half, and sugar. Set aside. Remove the pears from the liquid and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the core from each. Cut the halves into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 or 4 lengthwise slices. The pears will be red on the outside and white on the inside. Cut the plums in half lengthwise and remove the pits.
Place the almond paste in the center of the cooled tart shell and spread it outward toward the edges, being careful not to break the shell. Place the plums, cut-side up, randomly over the almond paste filling, slightly pressing them into the paste. Beginning on the outside edge, fill the tart with the poached pear slices, fitting the slices around the plums. It does not matter if gaps exist, as the egg mixture will fill in the spaces. Pour the egg mixture into the tart, being careful not to coat the fruit. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the custard is set. Let cool.
To make the mango-ginger coulis: Cut a slice from both ends of the mangos. Cut the flesh away from the pit in four lengthwise slices. Place each slice cut-side up and cut a 1/2-inch dice into the flesh all the way down to the skin. Using a knife, cut and scrape the flesh away from the skin and place the flesh in a blender or food processor. Add the rum, sugar, and ginger and puree until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice while processing.
To serve: Using a serrated knife, cut the flan into three 6-inch squares. Cut each square diagonally into two triangles. Serve one wedge on each dessert plate, and spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of the mango-ginger coulis along one side. Dust the flan slices and plates with confectioner’s sugar and garnish each with a flower.