There is just something about cooking with pears that I really love! This is a bit of conflict of interest with myself, if there can be such a thing, as the thought of eating a pear on its very own disgust me! I think they are one of the only fruits I really don't like to eat alone........by saying that I don't mean in a dark lonely cupboard somewhere? But cooked or paired with other ingredients in a salad and I'm in love with them. I recently found these adorable miniature pears, called Paradise Pears which I used in this dessert. I brought them with no idea what I was gong to use them for, but I had to have them. So after much deliberation I turned them into a beautiful clafloutis, although to be honest I don't think this dessert follows all the true French rules to making a traditional clafloutis, but either way it tasted amazing! I did however have to make friends with pastry again, but we were ok, I even made a bit extra for the freezer which is always a massive bonus come the next pastry wheeling dessert. So If you love and hate pears like I do, then I guarantee you will love this dessert. It tastes as good as it looks!
Prep time: 1 ½ hours, plus 2 ½ hours for dough to chill
For the pastry dough:
240 g plain flour
180 g chilled butter, cubed
¼ cup chilled water
For the poached pears:
6-8 Bosc pears, peeled and with stem left on or 10-12 paradise pears if can get them
2 cups white wine
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
1 orange, the zest and juice
1 lemon, the zest and juice
For the custard:
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
½ cup of the poaching liquid
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1. To make the pastry, place the flour and butter and salt in a food processor and blitz until all the butter and flour is combined. Slowly add the water and continue to process until the mixture form a ball. Remove from the processor, warp in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Peel pears. In a large saucepan, mix white wine, water, sugar, orange and lemon juice, and zest. Submerge pears immediately in poaching liquid, to avoid discoloration.
3. Simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and remove pears. Drain pears and return poaching liquid to a boil. Reduce liquid by half.
4. Whisk custard ingredients together and set aside.
5. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and press into the bottom and several inches up the sides of a greased, spring form pan, or rectangle tart tin with a removable base. Fold down extra dough to make the sides of the pastry extra sturdy. Cover the pastry shell in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When dough is chilled, remove plastic wrap, line pastry with baking paper, and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.
6. Allow pastry to cool. Stand the poached pears in the shell and pour the custard mixture around them.
7. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the custard is firm.
8. Once booked, brush over the little of the reduced poaching liquid. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of cream or mascarpone.