This pretty tart, when cooked, takes the form of the fruit. For this reason we use Conference pears as they hold their shape and keep their distinctive flavour after poaching.
To make the pastry extra crisp and crunchy – complementing the softness of the filling – I have used polenta flour. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature with crème fraîche or a crème anglaise.
7 large pears
For the pastry:
250g cold butter
3 egg yolks
Egg for glazing
● Peel the pears, cut them in half and take out the cores and stalks. Poach gently in a sugar syrup (2 cups water, 200g of sugar and the juice of the lemon) until they are quite soft. Leave to cool, then dry on a paper towel to remove all liquid.
● In a mixer or bowl, combine the butter, flour, polenta, sugar and salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and the water – just enough to bring the dough together.
● Roll out two-thirds of the dough into a large circle about 5mm thick. Lift carefully and place in a 25cm buttered tart tin with a removable base. Position the pears, cut side down, in the tart. Roll out the rest of the dough and place on top. Seal the edges with a little beaten egg glaze.
● Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 35 mins or until golden brown. Make sure the base is well cooked too, as the pears tend to release moisture.