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Our Chef's Recipes

Photo: David Bishop

Pear & Red Wine Custard Tart in a Hazelnut Crust
Serves 6–8

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine
  • 1 cup of fresh orange juice
  • One third of a cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 pears
  • 150 gm hazelnuts
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup of icing sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 150 gm cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 3 whole eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 200º C. In a large saucepan, combine two-thirds of the granulated sugar with the wine, orange juice, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks and bring to the boil over a high heat. Boil for about 12 minutes.

Cut a circle of greaseproof paper to fit just inside the saucepan. Peel, quarter and core the pears. Add them to the pan and lightly press the greaseproof paper on top.
Bring to the boil over a moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pears cool in the poaching liquid.

Place the hazelnuts in a pie pan and bake for about 15 minutes until their skin cracks. Transfer the hot nuts to a kitchen towel and rub them together to loosen their skins. Let them cool completely.

In a food processor, combine the cooled hazelnuts with the remaining granulated sugar and process to a fine powder. Add the flour, icing sugar and salt and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse until only a few large pieces remain. Add the one beaten egg and process just until a dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball.

Roll out the dough to cover the base of a 23 cm fluted flan tin with a removable base.
Pierce the bottom all over with a fork. Cover the tart shell and freeze for 1 hour.
(This recipe can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate the pears.)

Line the cold tart shell with greaseproof paper and fill with dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is set and golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool, then carefully remove beans.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Strain the wine syrup through a fine sieve and return it to the saucepan. Bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer until the syrup has reduced to ¾ of a cup, for about 15 minutes. Pour syrup into a bowl and let cool until just warm.

Arrange pears in quarters in the baked tart shell on their sides in two concentric circles, overlapping them slightly if necessary. Beat the whole eggs into the warm wine syrup until blended. Pour the mixture evenly over the pears and bake for 40-50 minutes. Transfer the tart to a rack to cool and serve at room temperature.