When the cooler weather comes around there are always certain foods whose flavors and smells just warm you from the inside out. Pears are something that I always seem to associate with the cooler months and I find myself drawn to baking with them. Take it one step further by combining this lovely fruit with spices like cloves, nutmeg and of course, there must be cinnamon at which point the smells waft through your home tantalizing your senses and just the smell alone is something that can warm you. I love warm, wafting smells.
I came across a pear galette that looked simple divine however, as so often happens, I found myself unmotivated to deal with making dough or rolling dough. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you already know I have a love/hate relationship with dough. I love eating it but I can’t stand making it although sometimes that just needs to happen. This was not one of those times.
I had recently received my latest Foodzie box and inside were a full-size sample of Salted Rosemary Shortbread Cookies from Lark Fine Foods. These perfect little shortbread cookies have fragrant rosemary in them and just a sprinkling of sea salt making them a little something special. I decided to transform the galette into a tart and that tart was destined to have a salted rosemary shortbread crust.
I made a vanilla pastry cream with just a kiss of cinnamon which was then topped with pears that I poached with all those wonderfully warm, wafting spices. A little drizzle of honey finished off this tart making it sheer perfection. The slight saltiness of the rosemary shortbread crust combined with the sweet pastry cream and the spiced pears all came together so perfectly. The perfect dessert for those cool weather days!
Spice Poached Pear Tart with Rosemary Shortbread Crust
Adapted from White On Rice Couple
12 shortbread cookies, 1/2 Tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt OR I used 1 package Salted Rosemary Shortbread Cookies from Lark Fine Foods
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Spiced Poaching Liquid
4 cups of water
2 cups sugar
1/2 a lemon, cut into wedges
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
6 whole cloves
1 whole nutmeg, crushed
4 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
Make the Crust:
- In a food processor, finely process the cookies, rosemary and salt.
- Add in the flour and butter and process until everything is combined.
- Press into a 13.75×4.25 rectangular tart pan with removable bottom or a 9″ round tart pan with removable bottom.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the Pastry Cream:
- Bring the milk just to a boil in a small saucepan.
- In the meantime, combine the cornstarch, sugar, salt and egg in a small bowl. Whisk until well incorporated.
- After the milk is hot, remove from heat and slowly pour 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture whisking constantly.
- Then slowly pour tempered egg mixture back into the milk, whisking constantly and return the saucepan to heat.
- Heat over medium heat until pastry cream thickens, stirring constantly.
- Add the vanilla and cinnamon. Press through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps.
- Put pastry cream in a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, laying the plastic directly on the cream to make sure a skin doesn’t form as it cools.
- Chill cream.
- Combine all the poaching ingredients in a large sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and poach pears until tender, about 5 minutes.
Assemble the Tart:
- Spread the chilled pastry cream over the baked shortbread crust.
- Top with the poached pears. Drizzle with honey.