Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Moscato poached pear tart with chai spiced custard and almond crust

About a month ago, I wanted to make something fruity. So I bought some pears. Sugar pears from New Zealand to be exact. Sometimes, I buy the fruit before I know what I want to make with them, while sometimes, I buy them with an idea on what to do with them. It so happens that I did have a recipe in mind...

Moscato poached pear tart with chai spiced custard and almond crust

I was intrigued by the recipe as it seemed quite unusual - it didn't use any refined flours, nor sugars (though the Sis would like to differ as she pointed out that honey has a higher sugar content than sugar itself. :/) and no cream was required even though there was a custard component.

Well, it had substitutions I guess. Almond flour replaced flour, honey replaced sugar, and though there wasn't any milk or cream involved, the egg yolks helped as they bind together to create a custard-like. texture.

Don't be tempted to add more than the necessary almond flour required. As I measure my ingredients by weight (g) instead of cups, I had to find an online conversion for the amount of almond meal required, and I was quite doubtful over the amount that I added extra. Nope. Please don't do it. The resulting tart dough can be too almond-y flour tasting. Nah ah, not a great idea. The taste was quite bland and uninspiring on its own, but when paired with the flavoured custard, it provided a subtle base for the sweet filling. The custard was quite sweet (I actually recommend cutting back on the honey slightly if possible) but other than that, it was really quite good.

*The only substitutions I made to the recipe was to use Moscato wine instead of Riesling to poach the pears, and to replace the cocoa butter for the custard with plain unsalted butter.

Moscato poached pear tart with chai spiced custard and almond crust 
(adapted from Coco at Roost)

Moscato Poached Pears
5 cups water
3 cups Moscato, or sweet white wine of choice
3 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla pod (reserve seeds for chai custard)
1/2 cup honey (my honey fell slightly short of the required amount so I added an extra 1 tbsp sugar)
8 slightly firm but ripe Honey Belle pears (you could use any pear of your choice)

Place all ingredients except for pears in a stock pot and bring to a bowl.
Meanwhile peel the pears (I left the stem on for presentation) and cut in half lengthwise.
Using a paring knife remove the core and bottom. Once liquid is to a boil carefully place pears in liquid and reduce to medium heat. Cook pears for 45 minutes to an hour or until very tender.
Remove pears from liquid. Cool and refrigerate. (Don't throw away the poaching liquid! Keep it - reduce it further to make a thick syrup to use for other stuff.)

Almond Tart Crust
260g almond flour
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tbsp water

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Grease a 13x5 rectangular tart pan and form the crust with the dough.
Bake at 175C for 15-20 minutes or until edges are slightly golden brown. Leave to cool.

Chai Custard
85g unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
2 whole star anise
~1 tsp sliced ginger pieces
1 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod, smashed
big pinch of ground mixed spice
vanilla seeds (scraped from the vanilla pod used in the poached pears)
5 egg yolks

Place honey and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add butter, star anise and spices. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Discard star anise, cinnamon stick and cardamom pod and return pot to heat. Bring to a simmer, slight boil. Whisk the eggs yolks, gradually pour the spiced honey mixture into the yolks, whisking continuously.
Pour the custard into the saucepan, heat over the stovetop on medium heat, stirring constantly (about 15-20 minutes) until the custard coats the back of the spoon and when you run your finger across it leaves a streak.
Remove from heat, cool using a ice bath, whisking constantly till it cools down. Strain mixture if desired (I strained cos I spotted a few cooked egg whites bits in it). Chill in refrigerator at least an hour (I didn't).
Spread the chilled custard onto the cooled tart crust, top with sliced poached pears, serve immediately.


  1. you seem to be on a tea kick lately with the chai and earl grey huh? ;p love the idea of an almond flour only crust - definitely keeping this in mind for my next tart making adventure!

  2. hee i didnt notice until u said so. ive still got another citrus tea cake to update too! heh.

  3. Hi, I've just stumbled across your blog while looking at foodgawker, I really like your work. This is a beautiful dessert - the flavors sound perfect together - I'm going to have to find time to make this one, thanks for the recipe.

  4. This is so beautiful and delightful. My husband loves pears and this would be a really nice birthday tart for him.


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