Recipe by: Alessandra van Pelt Gennaro

Photo by: Tatyana Kildisheva

Source: Alessandra’s Italian friend Antonietta

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients (Pâte Brisée Tart Crust)

  • 250 g (2 cups) flour
  • 150 g (⅔ cup) butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp milk

Ingredients (Filling)

  • 250 ml (1 cup) whole milk
  • 150 ml (⅔ cup) whipping cream
  • 30 g (2 Tbsp) butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 30 g (1 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 15 g (2 Tbsp) flour, rice flour or potato starch
  • 2–3 Williams pears, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 100 g (3½ oz) Roquefort (or Blue Stilton) cheese, crumbled
  • 30 g (¼ cup) walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp lavender or eucalyptus honey (can find at Marketplace grocery stores)

Other

  • 15 x 5 cm (6 x 2 in) rectangular removable bottom, corrugated edged, tart tin
  • Parchment paper
  • Ceramic baking beans* (can also use dried beans)

Instructions (Pâte Brisée Tart Crust)

  1. Grease the inside of the tart tin with a dab of butter and set aside.
  2. Place all of the Pâte Brisée Tart Crust ingredients in a food processor and mix together on low to medium setting until well combined into a dough-like consistency. Remove from the food processor and knead the pastry by hand for 1-2 minutes, just long enough to form a ball shape. Wrap the pastry in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to the size of the tart tin and transfer the pastry to it. Carefully press the pastry to the bottom of and up the sides of the tin. Trim the edges neatly and prick the bottom with a fork. Put the pastry into the freezer for 30 minutes and pre-heat the oven to 180 ˚C (350 ˚F).
  5. Remove the pastry from the freezer and place parchment paper over it. Add a layer of ceramic baking beans (or dried beans). Put the pastry into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.  While it is baking, prepare the filling (see below).
  6. Remove the paper and beans. Return the pastry to the oven, uncovered, and bake for an additional 5 minutes to let it brown. Remove the pastry from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Instructions (Filling)

  1. Mix together the milk, whipping cream, butter, salt and and white pepper. Set aside 100 ml (~1/3 cup) of this mixture.
  2. Bring the remaining mixture to a gentle simmer in a medium-sized saucepan, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to boil the mixture. Once the mixture has reached a gentle simmer, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  3. Combine the egg yolks, grated Parmesan and flour (or rice flour or potato starch) in a separate saucepan. Add the 100 ml (~1/3 cup) of cold milk mixture and whisk into the saucepan contents until pale and creamy.
  4. To create the custard, gradually add the simmered cream mixture to the saucepan containing the cold mixture, whisking continually to ensure a smooth consistency. Place the cold saucepan over a low heat and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick and creamy. Do not overheat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the custard to cool to room temperature.
  5. Whisk the cooled custard with an electric mixer (or by hand) until it is completely smooth. Pour this custard into the pre-baked pastry, stopping when it is three quarters full (reserve the extra for later).
  6. Add the pear slices vertically at a slight diagonal, skin side up. Ensure the spacing is even and tight.
  7. Once the pears are layered across the top, pour in a little more of the remaining custard, making sure the contents do not exceed the top of the tart’s crust.
  8. Sprinkle on crumbled cheese and walnuts, then drizzle with the honey.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until filling is just set. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
  10. The tart can be served either hot or cold, and is best eaten with a green salad.

Download PDF here: italian-pear-roquefort-walnut-tart-alessandra-van-pelt-gennaro

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