Tarte aux Poires Alexandre Chabert (Pear and Almond Tart)
Served warm or cool, this beautiful pear tart with raisins and almonds is a classic. Chef Albin names it after one of the first chefs he studied with, in the Rhone Valley of France, where the valley’s perfect pears were preserved and used to make this signature tart all year round.
- Raisins - 1 cup
- Rum - 1/2 cup
- Pastry Crust
- Whole Eggs - 2
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 8 ounces (2 cups)
- Unsalted Butter - 8 ounces (2 sticks)
- Pastry Flour - 1 pound (4 cups)
- Poached Pears
- Fresh Pears - 12 (Anjou, Bartlett, or Comice)
- Sugar - 1 pound (2-1/2 cups)
- Water - 1 quart
- Vanilla Custard
- Milk - 4 cups
- Sugar - 2 cups
- Vanilla Extract - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 2 ounces (1/2 stick)
- Eggs - 4
- Cornstarch - 4 tablespoons
- Pinch of salt
- Almonds - 2 ounces, sliced, blanched
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar plus confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream - (optional)
Combine the raisins and rum. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate overnight at room temperature. Drain and set aside.
To make the crust: Blend the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream in the butter. Add the flour in four additions; do not overmix. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap; chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Put a 12-inch pastry ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Unwrap the pastry dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 12-inch circle. Roll up onto the rolling pin, then unroll over the pastry ring, gently pressing the dough into the ring. Roll over the top of the pan to cut off any excess dough; discard. Set aside.
To poach the pears: Peel, core, and quarter the pears. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a slow boil, swirling the mixture to combine. Add the pear quarters and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside off the heat to cool, then drain.
To prepare the pastry cream: Put the milk in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and butter. Whisk the sugar and eggs together until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the cornstarch and salt until dissolved. Pour a large spoonful of hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine, tempering the eggs. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot milk, whisking constantly. Place back over low heat and whisk gently until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do not let the mixture boil.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread half of the pastry cream in the bottom of the pastry-lined ring mold. Sprinkle the surface with half of the raisins. Arrange the pear slices over the cream. Sprinkle with the remaining raisins. Top with the remaining pastry cream. Sprinkle the blanched almonds over the surface and then sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Slide the tart onto a serving plate and remove the ring.
To serve: Dust the serving plates lightly with confectioner’s sugar. Slice the tart into wedges. Serve warm with or without ice cream, or whipped cream