Asian pear tart with burnt ginger caramel
- 1 Asian pear (with pale-yellow skin, not the brown kind)
- 1 9″ round of puffy pastry, homemade or store-bought
- 1/4 c. salted butter
- 1/2 tsp. Chinese 5-spice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 c. ground almonds
- 1/4 c. sliced almonds
- 1 egg
- 1 c. sugar
- 6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) salted butter
- 1/2 c. 35% heavy cream
- 1/2 c. 35% heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a large baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter until browned and fragrant with a nutty smell. Remove from heat and stir in the Chinese 5-spice, cinnamon, and both the ground and sliced almonds. This is the filling for the tart.
Wash and peel the Asian pear. Slice it into even slices roughly 1/8″ in thickness. Set aside.
On the lined baking sheet, lay the 9″ round of pastry dough. Spread the butter-almond mixture onto the dough, leaving empty a 1″ space at the edge of the dough. This is for folding in the dough to make the crust later.
Arrange the pear slices in concentric circles (or heck, arrange them however you’d like!). Just make sure that they’re not unevenly distributed to ensure even baking.
Once the pear slices are arranged, fold in the edges of the dough, making pleats every couple of inches by pinching the dough with your fingers.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and use a pastry brush to brush the edges of the dough with egg.
Put the tart in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. The tart is done when the crust is a dark golden brown and the juices of the pear are bubbling.
Take the tart out and let cool directly on the baking sheet for at least 20 minutes. If you try to maneuver it before it cools, it may break (this happened to me right before company came over!).
Meanwhile, prepare all of the ingredients for the caramel. Caramel can be kind of tricky and I’ve learned to have all the ingredients at hand in order to add it right when needed. Measure out the sugar, chop the butter into cubes, and pour out the cream.
In a small saucepan, heat the sugar on medium-high heat. Once the sugar starts to melt, continuously whisk it so that all of it melts evenly and none of it burns.
Once the sugar becomes entirely melted and liquid, lower the heat to medium and stop whisking. Swirl the pan if necessary to move the sugar. Heat until the sugar is a dark amber colour. If in doubt, cook the sugar less rather than more.
Once it is dark amber, add the butter. The mixture will sputter so be careful. Use the whisk to mix in the butter. Once the butter is all melted and mostly mixed in, remove the pan from the heat.
Pour in the cream and whisk until all incorporated. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp. of ground ginger, depending on how gingery you like it. Mix in.
While the caramel is cooling, wash, peel and smash a piece of fresh ginger the size of a thumb and throw that into the caramel. It will infuse the caramel as it cools.
Finally, prepare the whipped cream by whipping the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and beat just to incorporate.
When the tart is cooled, slice and serve with a generous spoonful of caramel. Add a dollop of whipped cream.
If unsalted butter is all you have on hand, just throw in a pinch of salt.
Beating the cream by hand is actually super easy! Make sure your cream is very cold, and use a stainless steel bowl. Freeze the bowl and a whisk for about 10 minutes while you make the caramel. The cold bowl helps the cream whip more easily.