Poached Pear and Hazelnut Tart

11 10 2009
Poached Pear and Hazelnut Tart

Poached Pear and Hazelnut Tart

This tart from start to finished smelled or tasted amazing every step of the way! This is one of those recipes that I drooled over every time I opened up Ivy Manning’s cookbook. And today we finally gave it  a shot.y? Because we found hazelnuts at the farmers market. Teh sign said organic but I’m not 100% sure they are grown locally although I hope they are.  Anyway, I asked the woman how many unshelled hazelnuts did I need per cup of shelled hazelnuts nad she guessed/told me 2:1 ratio.  I needed hazelnuts for 2 recipes this week so I guessed not only the volume but also the weight I needed.  I ended up buying about 3/4 lbs of unshelled hazelnuts.  The pears were easy to find this time of year and I was ready for tart baking!

The first part of the tart to tackle was the crust.  Which as you can see is slanted more than a normal tart because I am still using foil lined pie pans to make my tarts in accordance with the don’t bring more crap into my kitchen to store if there are other things I  “>cna use to do it :) We did use an electric mixer to crumble the butter into the flour mixture but after that I just stuck my hands right in to knead.  The dough is very flaky and barely sticks together by the time you put it into the fridge to rest for an hour. I was actually concerned that when I went to roll it that it wasn’t going to stay a crust of any type at all.  Luckily, my concern was unfounded.  The one thing I will say about this tart crust recipe is that the uncooked dough is delicious! Now I love dough. I can’t explain why but I do.  This tart crust tasted like a sugar cookie dough so much that when I had left overs I just baked it like a cookie. Even the sous chef, whom makes fun of my dough eating affinity, started to nibble on the dough and like it by the end of the process.

Next up the pears! We used 3 Bosc pears which we learned felt hard initially but were actually just perfectly ripe for this recipe.  With Bosc pears you want them to be firm and the part just around the stem to give a little.  Also, the firmer the pears the better for baking.  We had both so we were good to go.  The peeled, cored, and quartered pears were simmered/poached in a liquid made up of: water, Chardonnay, orange zest, sugar, vanilla, and orange juice.  Holy crow did the kitchen smell good while they cooked! I’m surprised we actually got to the tart making part and didn’t just eat them on the spot right then. After they had cooked until a paring knife slid through them easily we let them cool to room temperature.

Last but not least we made the hazelnut filling.  The first thing we had to do was crack them all open and then roast them.  Both the recipes this week wanted us roast them so we did them all at once.  We only had one nut cracker so I found a mostly useful second way of cracking the nuts open: pliers.

(top to bottom) Unshelled Hazelnuts, Nut Cracker, Pliers

(top to bottom) Unshelled Hazelnuts, Nut Cracker, Pliers

 Once the nuts were free from their shells we roasted them in the oven at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.  They were brown and the skins had cracked and we didn’t burn them so we were happy until we went to de-skin them.  Usually roasted things the skins fall right off. Not hazelnuts.  We asked the internet for any advice and the most it gave us was that it was a dreaded task among bakers. Crap.  It did have one idea to put the roasted hazelnuts directly out of the oven into a towel and let them steam themselves some.  By this point we had already cooled them down so we pu them back into the warm oven (not on) for 10 minutes and tried the steam method: no luck. So we decided to leave the skins on and  I couldn’t have bene happier with the results.

So now that we had raw material to make the hazelnut filling with it went pretty smoothly.  The hazelnuts were ground to a fine powder with sugar in my magic bullet.  Then butter was added and eventually 1.5 eggs, vanilla, and a bit of flour were mixed in making this amazing hazelnut paste that the sous chef just wanted to spread on toast! But I didn’t let her thankfully and the tart was better for it.

All that was left was assemble. The dough was let to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before it was rolled out into an 1/8″ thick sheet, placed in the tart pan, trimmed, and put into the freezer for 30 minutes.  Once it was done we pulled it out, warmed the ceramic dish we froze it in (so we wouldn’t crack it putting it directly into the oven), and filled it with hazelnut goodness.  Then the pears were arranged on top best I could make them fit and the whole thing was sprinkled with a cinnamon/sugar mixture. Into the oven it went for 25 minutes.  When it came out it was removed from the pie pan and glazed with melted apricot preserves.

5 minutes into the photo shoot our guests showed up and we all were ready to eat the little sucker. Astoundingly good is the best way to describe it.  The flavors were full and rich, the pears were juicy and moist and EVERYONE loved it.  After we all ate our piece we just sat in a super pleasant tart coma for a while.  It was just another check in the box of tarts are really awesome and I need to keep making them.  This one there was no doubts about at all. It was as close to perfect as I can imagine without having a golden yard stick pf pear tarts to compare it to.

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3 responses

12 10 2009
sara

I CAN’T WAIT TO EAT MY LAST PIECE.

p/s/ i totally took the leftover pears out of the fridge this morning to eat with my lunch. should i save you half?

21 10 2009
Jackie

If i tell you how amazing your blog is, and how i think it’s likely going to inspire most new recipes i make in the near future, will that flatter the recipe for this out of you?

(i don’t bake AT ALL, but i was telling a friend about it, and she wants to bake it, which means i will get a piece)

27 12 2009
Rum Poached Pear and Hazelnut Tart « Where energy and creativity meet

[…] a very successful pear hazelnut tart we made in October the sous chef wanted to do it again so we were planning on making it for Christmas day dinner with […]

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