Curried Pear Tart

Last year, I made a pear tart that was based substantially on the peach tart. It did take some experimenting to get the proportions correct, but to me, it was a simple take-off from the peach tart. I wanted to do something different. After thinking about the flavors, I decided that curry powder would be a good addition to the flavor to balance the sweetness of the pear. So I started experimenting again. I asked my daughter Jenn about flavor combinations with curry, and she reported back to me that I should consider almond, coconut and saffron to go with most of the other flavors I already had in the custard.

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In our many versions of the tart (Jenn and James became by taste testers) I got the curry too heavy and lost all the other flavors, and then had to adjust several times to get to the recipe I am giving you herein.

If you live in Northwest Oregon, then you know that pears are plentiful. What started me working on the tart this time was that I got a gift of a dozen pears or so from my neighbor. Which becomes a warning about the ingredient list; it says 2 pears, but in truth, I can’t really say how many pears. I had one experiment in which I couldn’t get 2 large pears all into the tart, and other experiments where the pears were small and I had to use more like 4 to fill the tart. The ones I see in the store are larger, and two should be plenty.

The other day I found Ginger Paste in a tube at the store; I find it a good substitute for grating ginger root. It was in the produce section with the small packages of herbs.

Toasting coconut flakes goes fairly fast, so watch it carefully so they don’t burn. I had to throw one batch out because it burned.

To grind the almonds, I first place them in a baggie and seal it. Then I pound them to crush them into pieces. Finally, I place them in the food processor and process them to a course flour consistency before adding the other ingredients. I don’t like spinning the whole almonds directly in the food processor as they are very hard and are like little bullets at first. I think they are capable of breaking the plastic and just feel better about banging on them with the rolling pin, or even a hammer first to reduce the mass of the individual pieces.

Pear Tart

Pastry

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger root*
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup shortening.

* if you don’t want to buy and grate ginger root, substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
or a full tablespoon of Ginger Paste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place ground almonds, flour, ginger, sugars and extract in a food processor. Start the food processor and add the shortening about 1 Tablespoon at a time.
Remove and press into an 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Bake for 9 minutes.

Cool the tart shell before continuing.

Custard:

  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 tsp curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp grated ginger root or ginger paste
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract.
  • pinch saffron threads

Place all the ingredients in the food processor and process until well blended.

Assembly

  • Cooled pastry shell
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut
  • 2 ripe pears peeled and sliced
  • the custard

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the toasted coconut in the bottom of the pastry shell

Arrange the slices of pears as radii on the coconut.

Pour the custard over the pears but don’t overflow the crust.

Foil the edges of the crust so they don’t burn.

Bake 30 minutes, or until brown at the edges.

Daughter Jenn, whom I consider the pear expert, told me to use either Bartlett or d’anjou pears for baking, and I used the Bartlett. The pears you get in the store are seldom ripe; from remembering my Mother canning pears, I wrap each pear separately in a piece of newspaper and wait several days until it turns yellow.

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