I’ve been making this tart for many years in countless iterations. It all started way back when with Julia Child’s version of a red wine-poached pear tart filled with frangipane. A gorgeous masterpiece.
Over the years, I simplified my version significantly, although it does still take a bit of work for all the different components. The nice thing is is that you can make the tart dough ahead of time (up to 1 day in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer), line the tart pan with the dough and freeze it (for up to 1 month in advance, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap), and poach the pears up to 3 days in advance (just store them in an airtight container in the fridge).
I poach my pears in a simple syrup flavored with orange zest and vanilla bean. The fragrance is simply incredible and will fill your house with the smell of the holidays. The buttery crust is reminiscent of pie dough meets a crisp cookie, and the smooth custard holds it all together. Topped with a shower of toasted almonds and a sprinkle of sugar for crunch, this is a definite every year on my Thanksgiving table.
Recipe: Pear Almond Custard Tart