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This recipe is not for the faint hearted! When I saw this gorgeous tart in June’s Gourmet Traveller, I knew I had to bake it, however it involves lots of steps so you have to be in the mood.  It is well worth all the work the filling is delicious and the poached pears are so fragrant. My tart ended up being deeper than the gourmet traveller example so had even more of the delicious filling. It is a good idea to start a day or two before and let the pastry rest for a day.

Recipe

Ingredients

for filling

80 gm of chilled butter diced

2 eggs, free range

1 egg yolk

110 gm raw caster sugar

scarped seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean

Finely grated rind of 1/2 orange

1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup of plain flour

2 tbsp créme fraiche

Hazelnut Pastry

80 gm roasted hazelnuts

11/3 cups of plain flour

110 gm of pure icing sugar, sieved

125gm of chilled butter

2 free range eggs

Poached pears

400 ml semi dry white wine, such a riesling

400 gm of raw caster sugar

Thinly peeled rind and juice of 1/2 orange and 1/2 a lemon

3 thyme sprigs

2 cinnamon quills

4 ripe pears (such a josephine) peeled cored and quartered.

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For hazelnut pastry, finely process hazelnuts in a food processor, add flour, sugar and a pink of salt and process to combine. Add butter, process to fine crumbs then add yolks and process until dough comes together. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at  least overnight.

For poached pears, bring wine, sugar, rinds, juices, thyme, cinnamon and 1 litre of water to boil in a saucepan over a medium high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add pears, cover directly with baking paper and weight with a plate, reduce heat to a simmer until tender (25 -30 mins). Remove the 6 pear quarter with a slotted spoon and pat dry with paper towel, halve length wise and set aside. Refrigerate remaining pears in syrup.

Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm-thick round, then line a 23 cm diameter 3 cm tart tin and trim edges. ( I didn’t have a tin with these measurements so I just used another) Refrigerate and rest for an hour. Preheat the oven to 180C and blind bake the tart case until edges are golden. Remove paper and weights and then until light golden and crisp. (5-6 mins)

Meanwhile heat butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until golden brown and fragrant (3-4 mins) pour into a bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs yolks, sugar, vanilla seeds, rind, thyme and a pinch of sale in an electric mixer until fluffy (2-3 minutes) then whisk in flour on a low speed. Whisk in brown butter and créme fraiche and pour into pastry case arrange halved pears and bake until set.(45-50 mins)

Serve warm with a sprig of thyme and serve with extra pears with syrup and creme fraiche.

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