Poached Pear and Almond Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce

Poached Pear and Almond Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce
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About This Recipe

As a Napa Valley local, I've always been inspired by the incredible ingredients and flavors that surround us in this beautiful region. When I set out to create a new dessert recipe, I knew I wanted to incorporate the essence of wine country, and that's how I came up with my Poached Pear and Almond Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce. This scrumptious dessert is a delightful combination of sweet, tender pears, a rich almond filling, and a silky salted caramel sauce that will make your taste buds sing.

One of the best parts about creating this recipe was sourcing the ingredients from local Napa Valley producers. The pears I used come from a small family-owned orchard, while the almonds were harvested from a nearby farm. The wine used for poaching the pears can be found at a boutique winery just down the road from my home. By using these local ingredients, I could truly capture the essence of Napa Valley in every bite of this delicious tart.

When it comes to main course ideas to serve before indulging in this heavenly dessert, I recommend something light and refreshing to contrast the richness of the tart. A summery salad with mixed greens, goat cheese, and a citrus vinaigrette would pair wonderfully, as would a simple grilled fish or chicken dish with seasonal vegetables.

For wine pairings, I suggest going with a late harvest dessert wine such as a Sauternes or a local Napa Valley favorite, the Dolce from Far Niente Winery. Alternatively, a sparkling wine like the Schramsberg Crémant Demi-Sec would provide a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the tart, with its crisp acidity and subtle effervescence.

As you stroll through the vineyards and visit the local wineries, you'll find that Napa Valley's wine country is not just about the world-class wines we produce, but also the amazing culinary experiences that are inspired by our region. Our unique terroir, diverse microclimates, and rich history all come together to create a vibrant and thriving food and wine culture.

When you create this Poached Pear and Almond Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce in your own kitchen, you'll be transported to the heart of Napa Valley, with its rolling vineyards, abundant produce, and unforgettable flavors. And as you savor each delicious bite, I hope you'll be inspired to explore our region further and discover the many hidden gems that make Napa Valley truly special.

So, whether you're a local like me, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of Napa Valley's wine country, I hope you'll give this delectable dessert a try. As you gather with friends and family to share a meal, raise a glass of your favorite Napa Valley wine, and let the spirit of our region fill your home with warmth and joy. Happy cooking, and cheers to your Napa Valley-inspired culinary adventures!

Spotlight on the Hero Ingredient: Bosc Pears

Bosc pears are a true gem in the culinary world, particularly when it comes to desserts. Known for their elongated, elegant neck and beautiful russet skin, these pears are not just aesthetically pleasing but are packed with natural sweetness and a firm texture that holds up exceptionally well when cooked. Native to Europe, Bosc pears have found their place in the hearts of many American chefs and home cooks alike. Their rich, slightly spicy flavor and unmistakably juicy, yet grainy texture make them the perfect choice for poaching, baking, or grilling. When you bite into a Bosc pear, you're greeted with an aromatic experience that's distinct from other pear varieties.

How To: Perfectly Poach Pears

Poaching pears might sound intimidating, but it's a simple technique that unlocks a whole new level of flavor in this already delicious fruit.

  1. Choosing the Right Pears: Start with firm, ripe Bosc pears. Their natural sweetness and firm texture make them ideal for poaching.
  2. Peeling: Use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to gently remove the skin, ensuring the pears remain intact.
  3. Simmering Liquid: A combination of wine and aromatic spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise) creates a rich poaching liquid that infuses the pears with complex flavors.
  4. Gentle Cooking: Bring your liquid to a simmer, not a boil. This ensures the pears cook slowly and evenly, becoming tender without falling apart.
  5. Cooling: After poaching, allow the pears to cool in the liquid. This step helps them absorb even more flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use a different variety of pear? While Bosc pears are recommended for their texture and flavor, other firm pears like Anjou or Bartlett can also be used. However, the poaching time might vary slightly.
  2. What can I substitute for white wine in the poaching liquid? If you're avoiding alcohol, you can replace the wine with apple or pear juice. Add a splash of lemon juice for some acidity.
  3. How should I store leftover tart? Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Warm it slightly before serving to enhance its flavors.
  4. I'm allergic to almonds. What can I use instead of almond flour? Hazelnut flour or cashew flour can be excellent substitutes for almond flour, giving the tart a slightly different but equally delicious nutty flavor.
  5. Can I make this tart gluten-free? Absolutely! Opt for a gluten-free pie crust, and ensure all your other ingredients are gluten-free.

Tips for Success

  1. Uniform Pears: When poaching, try to ensure that all your pear halves are roughly the same size. This ensures even cooking and a consistent end result.
  2. Watch the Caramel: Making the salted caramel sauce requires attention. Sugar can quickly burn, so constant stirring and a watchful eye are key.
  3. Serve at the Right Temperature: While this tart can be enjoyed at room temperature, serving it slightly warm, especially with the caramel sauce, amplifies the flavors and provides a truly indulgent experience.

Remember, while following recipes is essential, the joy of cooking lies in personalizing dishes to your taste. Feel free to experiment and tweak, making this Poached Pear and Almond Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce a regular star at your dessert table.

Recipe Overview

Recipe:
Poached Pear and Almond Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce
Author:
Lily Anderson
Season:
Fall
Yield:
8 servings
Calories Per Serving:
650
Prep Time:
PT30M
Cook Time:
PT1H5M
Total Time:
PT1H35M

Ingredients List

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium Bosc pears, peeled, halved, and cored
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pre-made 9-inch pie crust (or homemade if preferred)

For the caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine pears, wine, granulated sugar, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and star anise. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat and continue to simmer for 20-25 minutes, until pears are tender. Remove pears from the liquid and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  3. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, butter, powdered sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix until smooth and creamy.
  4. Spread almond mixture evenly over the pie crust.
  5. Arrange poached pears on top of the almond mixture, cut side down.
  6. Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes, until the almond filling is set and the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
  7. While the tart cools, prepare the salted caramel sauce. In a small saucepan, heat granulated sugar over medium heat until it melts and turns an amber color, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add butter and stir until completely melted. Carefully pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in sea salt.
  9. Drizzle the salted caramel sauce over the cooled tart before serving.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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