Chocolate Pear Custard Tart with an Almond Shortbread Crust
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As beautiful to look at as it is to taste, this custard tart is easy to make with the help of shortbread cookies. In this recipe, the pears are simply tossed with a bit of sugar, but if you'd like to anty up the flavor, gently poach the pear slices before layering them into the tart crust.
For the crust
- 12 shortbread cookies, such as Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread
- 1 large egg, cold
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 Cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Teaspoon almond extract (optional)
For the filling
- 2 ripe, unpeeled Bartlet pears, halved, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 Cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 Cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 Teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 3 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Calories Per Serving360
Folate equivalent (total)65µg16%
Orange Custard Tart with Chocolate Shortbread Crust Recipe
Orange Custard Tart with Chocolate Shortbread Crust Recipe – The chocolate dough, which is similar to shortbread, gets pressed into the tart pan and baked blind (unfilled). The crust is then spread with a creamy orange custard and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Calories: 458 Fat, Total: 30g Carbohydrates, Total: 45g
Cholesterol: 166mg Sodium: 132mg Protein: 6g
Fiber: 2g % Cal. from Fat: 59% % Cal. from Carbs: 39%
Tip: Orange zest gives the custard a boost of tangy citrus flavor. It also adds an extra touch of color and flavor to the finished dessert. With a citrus zester, cut strips of peel and set them aside to dry for a few hours. The zest will naturally curl. Before serving, sprinkle the tart with the chocolate curls and orange zest for a colorful garnish.
It’s creamy, soft and it feels like it’s melting in my mouth in every spoonful. It’s not sweet which made the almond taste standout, it’s buttery it’s just plain delicious.
I never knew that I would like pear as much as I like this now. But in fairness, these past few days I had been eating fresh pears almost everyday since I found the variation that I like. It’s the xxx, it’s smaller compared to other pears and it’s juicy and most specialty it’s soft rather than crunchy. Anyway, back to this pie. I used canned pear for this recipe and I strongly suggest it, or a poached pear will work too. Fresh pear will not work as much because it’s hard and it might end up not cook yet even before the entire pie is fully baked. Besides, canned pears are not only soft, it has a nice subtle sweetness which will make the pie taste even better. I have to tell you, this pear when baked turned out so soft, so delicious and so perfect with this pie.
I love everything about this pie, from the base crust, to the filling and to the fruit topping. There is something about almonds that I love when used in baking. It doesn’t have the smooth texture but that kind of coarse grainy texture have some appeal to me specially in tarts and cookies. I love the subtle creamy taste of almonds and I find that using it in tarts and cookies are the best way to go. I do like using it for cakes sometimes, but for me the almond grainy texture does not always play well with cakes, with the exception of some like my Almond Torte Cake.
Most of my baking recipes are small batch or portion for two or even one sometimes. For this Pear Almond Tart, I made an exception since I will be serving this for a gathering, so big is the way to go. I have always dreamed of making a huge pie like this but never got the chance to actually do it. I bought this pie pan years ago when I was planning to bring a pie a get together. To cut the story short, the get together did not happen and so my pie pan stayed un-open in my cabinet. This kind of pie is perfect for bottom release pan, so that’s a sign for me to finally open and use it.
Although this could work in regular pie pan, using a bottom release pie pan is recommend if you want to retain the nice fluted edge of the tart. Also, if you are serving it for a get together, it looks 100% better and more appealing. When it comes to food presentation, I am also for make it beautiful.
This pie looks beautiful, but don’t be scared in making it. It’s really pretty simple, you can even make this part by part in different days or everything on the same day.
So if you are looking for a perfect Fall pie, go outside of the regular pumpkin and apple pie. There’s nothing wrong with those two, a lot of people love them but the challenge is to date to be different, I’m telling you, it’s worth it. You will be thanking me for this.
Best Kinds of Pears for Pear and Almond Tart
The best pears for Pear Almond Tart are Bartlett and Anjou. Barlett pears start arriving at farmers markets and your grocery stores in late summer. They’re soon followed by Bosc and Comice which are in season in the fall through winter. Then Anjou, which is a winter pear. Get Barlettt or Anjou for this tart recipe depending on the season you’re making.
Almond Flour & All Purpose Flour from Bob’s Red Mill
This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill® . I couldn’t be any more thrilled when I get to work with Bob’s Red Mill® to develop this Pear and Almond Tart recipe.
As an employee-owned company, Bob’s Red Mill® uses high-quality whole grains to satisfy all vegan, paleo, and gluten-free friendly cooking and baking needs. From almond flour, cake mixes, coconut flour to various grains, it offers the largest lines of organic, whole grain foods in the country. You can be assured that all of its products are certified Kosher and made with ingredients grown from non-GMO seeds. If you’re curious, you can go to the website and learn more about the founder, Bob Moore and his mission too.
To achieve the perfect texture for the Pear Almond Tart, I used Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour and Super-Fine Almond Flour from Bob’s Red Mill®. Because it is sifted to a very fine texture, their flours are fantastic for all baked goods.
The All-Purpose Flour is unbleached, unbromated, enriched baking flour milled from the highest quality North American wheat. The Super-Fine Almond Flour is made from the finest California-grown almonds, which have been blanched and ground to a fine meal that is ideal for gluten-free baking.
You should be able to find their flours at any major grocery stores. Alternatively, you can also buy it on Amazon.
Behind the Scene Side Note:
On the day when we had to photo shoot this Pear and Almond Tart, I’ve noticed that my favorite anodized aluminum tart pan was missing. I discovered later on that it fell behind the stacked cake pans in the cabinet above my refrigerator, but being 5 feet tall, the pan escaped my sight completely.
So I had to bake this pear and almond tart in my non-stick tart pan, which I don’t have a good relationship with. Despite using the exact same recipe, my tart crust tends to shrink when it’s baked in it (cursed!).
You can see the same sweet tart crust baked in the non-stick tart pan (shown in this Pear and Almond Tart recipe) and in the anodized aluminum tart pan (shown in my Sweet Tart Crust recipe).
Despite the minor kitchen mishap, the tart still tastes heavenly. The sweet filling and the homemade buttery crust are all that made the difference. If you’re looking for a show stopper dessert for your holiday table this year, you want to make this Pear and Almond Tart.
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Hi, I’m baker bettie!
I’m a trained chef and baking educator. My goal is to help you build baking confidence through teaching foundational baking techniques, approachable baking science, and classic recipes.
Shortbread Crust Recipe & Video
Crusts play such an important role when making pies and tarts. While we often think of them as only a shell to hold a filling, we also need to think about how their taste and texture will pair with that filling. One of my favorite crust recipes is this Shortbread Crust, that has a buttery sweet flavor and a crisp texture. It is like a shortbread cookie only in tart form. It goes well with cream fillings, fruit fillings, chocolate fillings, and even nut fillings. It is quick and easy to make, only needs 15 minutes of chilling time in the freezer, and takes under 15 minutes to bake. Definitely a good recipe to have in our repertoire .
Shortbread Crust: Lightly butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, an 8 or 9 inch (20-23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom.
In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps. Transfer the pastry to the prepared pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.) Gently pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.) Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will help prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.
Place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet and b ake the crust until golden brown, about 13 - 15 minutes . Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. It is now ready to be filled.
If desired, seal the cooled crust with an apricot glaze or melted chocolate. The shortbread crust can be covered and stored for a few days.
Apricot Glaze: Heat 1/4 cup (60 ml) apricot jam or preserves in the microwave, or in a small saucepan over medium heat, until liquid (melted). Strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps. Brush the warm glaze onto the bottom and sides of the cooled pastry crust.
Chocolate Glaze: Melt 1 ounce (30 grams) of semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave. Brush the melted chocolate over the bottom and sides of the cooled pastry crust.
Chocolate and Custard Pear Tart
I know I’m known for being pumpin-obsessed during this time of year, and we also give apples a lot of love. But you know what the most overlooked flavor of fall is? The pear. Make something with apple and it’s homey, casual, and nostolgic. Make that same thing with pears and it’s fancy, decadant, and refined.
In terms of dessert, pies get all the glory during the holiday season, but I love a great tart because not only are they a little more elegant for a holiday table, they’re not quite as heavy, either, and I feel like it’s the perfect ending to a special-occasion meal, or any meal, really! I ate a pear tart like this at a restaurant once, and I’ve wanted to recreate it ever since. It has a sweet cookie-like crust, a layer of chocolate on the bottom, a beautiful layer of fresh pears over that, and then a sweet custard fills in the spaces. I love drizzling mine with more chocolate, because well, drizzling with chocolate is always a good idea. This tart is the perfect use for AMERICAN HERITAGE ® chocolate as well. I love that not only does it have the perfect flavor profile, but its historic ties make it so fitting for Thanksgiving season! (You can read more about that, here , and also see our trip to historic Philadelphia where we learned all about it, here!) If you want something different, and so amazingly delicious people will be talking about it long after dinner, this is it.
The crust I’m using is a French pastry dough called “pâte sucrée.” Don’t let the fancy name fool you- this is actually easier than pie crust! The flavor and texture is similar to a sugar cookie and it’s the perfect base for the delicate pears and rich chocolate. Instead of using cold butter, like a pie crust, you actually beat softened butter, with egg, sugar, and flour, into a quick sweet dough.
Most tart recipes that use this type of dough call for 2 chilling periods, and rolling out the dough like a pie to drape over the pan. I skip all of that and just press the soft dough with my fingers into the tart pan and up the sides. You’ll want it no thicker than 1/4 inch. Once your pan is filled and ready, place parchment over the dough and top with pie weights or dry beans. (This is to hold the crust down and keep it from puffing up while baking.) If you don’t have a tart pan with a removeable bottom, they are super handy, grab one or two on Amazon! This recipe can make 1 large or there’s plenty of filling to make 2 smaller tarts.
You’ll pre-bake it part way and then it will finish baking once filled. So while the crust is in the oven, start prepping the filling, which starts with the best place to start: chocolate. You can certainly use any type of chocolate you like here, although I would recommend sticking to dark or semi-sweet. I’m using this particular Chocolate. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s made using a historic recipe, utilizing only ingredients available in the 17th Century. It has an incredibly unique flavor profile that is perfect for this recipe. With hints of cinnamon, vanilla, orange, and even chili, it compliments the pears and custard while adding an interesting tasting element of its own.
You’ll want finely chopped or grated chocolate. These Chocolate Blocks are perfect for grating, or if you’ve ever bought their Drinking Chocolate , it’s actually just finely ground pure chocolate, so you could even use that!
When the tart comes out of the oven, you’ll sprinkle a layer of chocolate over it. The small pieces of chocolate will melt quickly and you can then spread them around in an even layer accross the bottom of the tart.
Then arrange sliced pears over the top of the chocolate.
And lastly you’ll pour a creamy cinnamon-spiked custard over the top.
You’ll want the custard to reach pretty close to the top of the pan. Keep in mind that it won’t rise, so you can fill it up fairly full.
You’ll want the custard to reach pretty close to the top of the pan. Keep in mind that it won’t rise, so you can fill it up fairly full. I still always place my tart pans on a baking sheet because it makes them much easier to handle, prevents you from accidentally popping out the bottom, and catches any spills or drips.
As the tart bakes, the custard cooks, the pears soften, and it kind of caramelizes on top.
I take a little extra chocolate and heat it with some cream for a quick ganache to drizzle on top.
I love the presentation of a chocolate topping, and it adds that perfect extra touch of decadance.
You’ll want to serve this at room temperature, when it will slice beautifully.
You get 4 layers of flavor and texture: a cookie crust, melted chocolate, tender pears, and sweet creamy custard.
I love that it’s super indulgent, but light enough that it’s easy to have room for even after a big holiday dinner. I’ve also made this with other fruit, like raspberries, and it’s pretty much amazing any way you do it!
If you’d like to purchase American Heritage Chocolate to try in this recipe, you can find it on-line, here, or in person at one of their historic partners . It’s sold exclusively by living history sites, museums, and specialty gift shops that support the mission of education, which I think is really cool!
How to Make a Fruit Tart with Custard
The crust and the filling for this tart can be made the day before serving and kept separate. On the day of serving, you can assemble the components and top with you fruit. Fruit tarts are best eaten within the first 24 hours as the crust will start to become soggy. (Note: I have kept it in my refrigerator for up to 3 days and it is still pretty delicious! But it starts to lose quality after the first day).
Make the Pastry Cream Filling
I like to start with the pastry cream so it has time to chill before assembling the tart. If you have never made pastry cream before, it is relatively simple and you can find a full detailed pastry cream tutorial here.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until double in size then whisk in the cornstarch.Egg yolks + sugar Whisked until double in size Add the cornstarch
Heat the milk and vanilla until boiling. Slowly stream some of the hot cream into the egg yolks to temper them (so they don’t scramble). Put all of the mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat.Heat milk + vanilla Temper egg yolks Cook the pastry cream
Once thickened, strain the pastry cream and mix in the butter. Place a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the cream and cool completely in the refrigerator.Strain pastry cream Mix in butter Chill completely
Make the Shortbread Crust
For the crust of the tart we are making a shortbread crust. This is a simple, cookie style, crust that requires very few ingredients.
Butter and sugar are mixed together with salt, vanilla, and flour. Press the crust into your tart pan and then use a fork to dock it all over. This can be made in a 14 x 4.5″ (35.5 x 11.4 cm) rectangular tart pan like the one pictured, or in a 9″ (23 cm) round tart pan. You can also make it as mini tarts using 3- 5″ or 5- 4″ tart pans.
Bake the crust until golden brown and crispy and cool completely before assembling.
Arrange the Fruit & Glaze
No more than 24 hours before serving, assemble the tart. Spread the pastry cream over the crust. Top the tart with sliced fruit and arrange in a pretty pattern. You can use any variety of fruit that is in season and you like.
Prepare the fruit glaze by warming jelly or jam with a bit of water or orange liqueur. Strain the glaze if you used jam so that you have a smooth consistency. Gently brush the glaze over the fruit so that it has a nice shiny finish.
Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
- The crust and the pastry cream can be prepared the day before assembling. Keep the pastry cream in the refrigerator and the crust at room temperature until it is time to assemble.
- I would recommend assembling the tart no more than 24 hours before serving. It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, but after the first 24 hours it begins losing quality.
- Another delicious variation to a classic fruit tart would be to use lemon curd or strawberry lemon curd as the filling in place of the pastry cream!
Apple Custard Tart Tested Recipe
There are so many ways to use apples and this Apple Custard Tart presents them so elegantly. It starts with a pre baked pastry crust that has a rich sweet buttery flavor and a crisp cookie-like texture. Once baked, the crust is glazed with a thin layer of apricot preserves which not only adds flavor but it also acts as a shield to prevent the crust from becoming soft. Once the glaze has dried, lightly sweetened apples are artfully arranged on the tart shell. A rich and creamy custard is then poured over the apples and the tart is baked until the custard has set. The finishing touch is to broil the tart until the tips of the apple slices have nicely browned. Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream .
As far as the apple filling goes, you can make this Apple Custard Tart with any firm textured apple that will not lose its' shape when baked. Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Rome and Braeburn are some year round favorites but during the Fall try to use locally grown apples as they have superior flavor and texture, and there is the added bonus of supporting your local farmers. What I often like to do is to mix two or three different varieties of apples which gives the apple pie a wonderfully complex flavor.
The custard filling for this Apple Custard Tart has a rich and creamy vanilla flavor. A custard is different than a pudding in that it does not contain cornstarch (corn flour). When you make a custard, the flour, sugar, and eggs are simply whisked together in a bowl. The cream is heated just until boiling, and then it is whisked into the flour mixture until incorporated. The final step is to whisk in the vanilla extract and brandy, if using. Because the flavor of the custard depends on the vanilla extract, it is best to use "pure" vanilla extract, not the imitation extracts as they are made with synthetic vanilla (from glycoside found in the sapwood of certain conifers or from coal extracts) and leave a bitter aftertaste.
Have ready an 8 - 9 inch (20 - 23 cm) tart pan with removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 11 - 12 inch (28 - 30 cm) circle that is about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness).
When the pastry is the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto top of tart pan. Never pull pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the pan). Gently lay in pan and with a small floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. With a thumb up movement, again press dough into pan. Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line the unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with pie weights or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack. When cool, spread a thin layer of warm apricot glaze over the bottom and sides of the tart to seal the crust and prevent it from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry between 20 - 30 minutes.
Apricot Glaze: In a small saucepan heat the apricot preserves until boiling. Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps. Add the Cognac or water.
Custard: In a large bowl whisk the flour and sugar together. Mix in the eggs and stir with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Do not let this mixture sit too long as it will form a crust.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half until it just starts to boil and the cream foams up. Remove from heat and gradually whisk into the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Whisk in the vanilla extract and Apple Brandy, if using. Set this mixture aside while you prepare the apples.
Apples: Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4 inch thick slices. Melt the 2 tablespoons (26 grams) butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the 2 - 4 tablespoons (25 - 50 grams) sugar. Add the apples and saute until they begin to soften, approximately 5 - 10 minutes. Set the cooked apples aside.
Assemble Tart: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the middle of the oven. Arrange the apple wedges in concentric circles on top of the cooled and glazed tart shell. Carefully pour the custard over the apples to just below the top of the tart pan (do not fill all the way or the custard will drip between the crust and the pan). Sprinkle lightly with the Cinnamon Sugar.
Place tart pan on a larger baking sheet to make it easier to remove from oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the custard has set.
Let the tart cool on wire rack, then lightly sift powdered sugar over the top. Place the tart under the broiler in the oven just long enough to caramelize the sugar on the apples. To prevent the edges of the tart shell from over-browning, you can cover them with a thin piece of aluminum foil or pie shields. Be careful not to over brown.
To remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan, place your hand under the pan, touching only the removable bottom not the sides. Gently push the tart straight up, away from the sides. The fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto a cardboard cake round or platter.
Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Makes 1 - 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) tart.
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (113 grams) room temperature unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon Cognac, Calvados, Rum or Water
1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
3/4 cup (190 ml) half and half cream (contains 10-14% fat and sometimes called light cream)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or paste
1 tablespoon Apple Brandy (Calvados or Applejack) (optional)
1 1/2 pounds (675 grams) Granny Smith Apples (3 large apples) (can use any firm textured apple)
How to Prevent Tart Crust from Shrinking
Here are a few tips to prevent your pastry from shrinking when it’s baked:
1. Don’t overwork your dough
Over-kneading the dough will develop too much gluten. Gluten produces elasticity in the dough and once the overworked dough is subjected to heat, it recoils quickly, pulling away from the sides of the pan and shrinking.
2. Let your pastry dough rest
The reason is to counter gluten development. After being worked, the dough needs to rest fully to relax any elasticity that has been developed. Let your dough rest for 30-60 minutes minimum, but the longer you can let it rest, the better it is.
3. Let your tart crust chill in the fridge/freezer
Why do we chill or freeze the tart crust before baking? The butter in pastry dough should be very cold or frozen. That way, when you put the tart crust in the hot oven, it won’t melt fast and gives stability to the tart shape while a crust is being formed.
With these few tips in hand, you’d be ready to bake up the perfect tart crust for your holiday pies and tarts. Buttery and flaky, crumbly and delicate, just as good as a tart crust should be.
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