This is what I wish I could eat all the time; for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has everything that I could ever want. For one, it comes in a buttery crust. Two, it has one of my most favorite ingredients of all time – hazelnuts. And not just hazelnuts but a creamy hazelnut filling. It also has perfectly spiced poached pears and cranberries for a little bit of tartness. The combination of cranberries, spices and the wintery feeling of hazelnuts makes this a great holiday tart!
The first thing that we need to do is make the dough that we will then roll into our tart shell and freeze. The dough that I used is Sucre dough and the recipe can be found here. I used a nine inch cast iron skillet for this particular tart, but you can also use a tart pan or a pie pan. The procedure is the same for whatever pan you use. After you have mixed the dough and it has rested and chilled for at least an hour you can start to roll it out.
When you roll it out you want to try and keep that circular shape as much as possible, because it is going into a round dish.
If there is a lot of excess flour on the dough brush it off before it goes into the pan.
This is about how thick you want to roll it out. Somewhere between an 1/8 of an inch and a 1/4 of an inch. At this point, slide whatever baking dish you are using underneath the dough. You want to push the dough down into all parts of the pan. All the dough should be flush with the pan. Pay close attention to the corners of the pan where the lip starts. Then, using a knife, cut off all of the excess dough.
You should be left with something looking like this. Where it is flush with the pan and there is no dough coming up over the lip of the pan. At this point it should go into the freezer for at least two hours. This can be done a day or two ahead of time. Make sure that it is good and frozen before you bake with it.
Next we need to get our pears ready. I used organic Bosc pears. The recipe for spiced poached pears is here. Once the pears are poaching, we can start on our filling.
The recipe for Hazelnut cream can be found here.
Once you have all of your components ready, we can assemble the tart and bake it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You have your pears, hazelnut filling, cranberries and tart shell ready. The pears need to be cut in half again, so at this point they should be quartered.
Place the hazelnut filling into the tart shell, using a spoon or offset spatula spread into an even layer in the tart pan. In my pan I can fit 9 slices of pear. Make sure you leave some room for the cranberries. You want to do a row of about three cranberries in between each pear and then one cranberry in the middle.
This is what it should look like before it goes in to the oven. You want to check it after 25 minutes. When checking to see if it is done you are looking to see that the filling is baked and that the crust is golden brown on the bottom. The filling is done when it is dark brown and springs back when pushed on.
After it comes out of the oven, you want to glaze it while it still warm. Take an 1/8 cup of apricot preserves, add a couple of tablespoons of water and heat it up until it becomes liquid. If there are chunks of skin, strain them out. Take a pastry brush and paint the top of the tart with an even amount of glaze. This makes the tart shiny. Let it cool.
When it is cool, get a plate that is slightly smaller than the tart. Place it on the tart and then sprinkle powdered sugar on the crust. It should look like this when done.
It tastes as good as it looks. I know that you want to admire how beautiful it looks and relish in what a good job you’ve done. But trust me, eating it is better. So take a picture and start eating.