Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee Tart with Wine Poached Pears
November 21, 2017

Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee Tart with Wine Poached Pears

Are you tired of bringing pumpkin pie to Thanksgiving dinner every year? Or are you just tired of finding 5 pumpkin pies on the dessert table because everyone has brought pumpkin pie?

Well, Kaysie Lackey has cooked up an amazing solution to your T-Day dilemma- Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee Tart in a Gingerbread Crust topped with Mulled Wine Poached Pears! Let her show you how to one-up everyone at this year's holiday dinner!

Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee Tart with Wine Poached Pears

It's my favorite time of year! Autumn and the holidays mean taking a break from the cakes and focusing on breads, rolls, pies, and, my new favorite- tarts! This tart in particular is full of all the fall flavor staples- cinnamon, cloves, anise, ginger... plus wine! (It is the holidays after all!)

All the elements can be made ahead of time and then assembled day of for a show-stopping holiday dessert that will "Wow!" your guests. And as an added bonus, you can either reduce the pear poaching liquid to a decadent dessert sauce... or just reheat and drink it! I think I will do the latter :)

There are three things you'll need to make for this tart- the wine-poached pears, the tart crust, and the creme brulee. Let's start with the pears.

Mulled Wine Soaked Pears

Mulled Wine-Poached Pears

  • 2 cups zinfandel wine
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 orange, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3-4 1 by 3-inch strip orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 3 firm, ripe pears (I prefer green d'anjou)

In a 3- to 4-qt. saucepan, combine wine, orange juice, zest strips, sugar, and spices. simmer until sugar has combined. Peal, halve, and core pears. Add pears to poaching liquid. Reduce heat and place a plate on top of pears to submerge them in liquid. Cook, covered, until pears are tender when pierced, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add thyme sprigs and cool to room temperature. Store in poaching liquid overnight to get a deep ruby color.

Now let's move on to the Creme Brulee. 

Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee

Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee

  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 of a vanilla bean, split
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Place cream in a heavy saucepan. Take the vanilla bean and scrap the inside seeds into the cream. Place the scraped bean into the cream as well.

Add the cinnamon stick, nutmeg, cloves, star anise and chopped ginger. Bring cream to simmer. Turn heat off and cover with a lid or a piece of foil and let the spices steep in the mixture for two hours (or overnight)

Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in cream mixture. Strain into a large mixing bowl or pitcher to remove the ginger and other spices.

Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee

As if this Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee doesn't have enough of the taste of the season for you, we're going to put it in a gingerbread crust. It's like eating a French confectionary delicacy out of your favorite Christmas cookie.

Gingerbread Tart Crust

Gingerbread Tart Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
  • 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) cake flour (plus more for rolling)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • ½ cup (175 grams) molasses

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, spices, and salt. Sprinkle butter cubes over the top and pulse until they are roughly the size of peas. Drizzle in molasses and pulse until mixture comes together into a ball. Turn out onto plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Gingerbread Tart Crust

Roll dough into a 13x10 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to a 8x11 inch tart pan. Trim dough so there is a ½-inch overhang, then fold the overhang inward, creating a double thick side. Use a paring knife to trim the top edge of the dough so it is flat. Poke the crust all over the bottom with a fork.

Gingerbread Tart Crust

Freeze for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Press foil, shiny side down, tightly against the crust. Fill with dry beans or pie weights.

Fill your crust with pie weights

Bake for 15 minutes, remove foil and beans, then bake for another 5 minutes uncovered.

Remove tart shell from oven and reduce temperature to 300°F.

Pie Crust Fresh from the Oven

Put tart shell (in pan) in a 4-sided sheet pan. Put in oven, then pour custard into shell. Bake until just set but still slightly wobbly in center, 40 to 45 minutes (custard will continue to set as it cools).

Pouring the creme

Remove tart from sheet pan and cool on a rack 30 minutes. Remove side of pan and cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator to firm up for about 1 hour more.

Remove the pears from the liquid and drain on paper or kitchen towels before slicing and topping the tart with them.

Slicing poached pears

Arrange the pears on top of the filling. Because it’s hard to move the pears once they’re on the filling, you may want to practice your pattern on an empty sheet pan before placing it on the tart.

Place some apple jelly in a small saucepan. Simmer and whisk to form a smooth glaze. Allow to cool slightly.

Stirring glaze

Brush it on the exposed pears, being careful not to pull up the cream filling from below. For a final visual touch, brush some star anise pods with gold luster dust (made into a liquid paint) and place on tart.

Painting your tart

Refrigerate the tart until ready to serve.

Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee Tart with Wine Poached Pears

Autumn Spiced Creme Brulee Tart with Wine Poached Pears

 And there you have it! A stunning holiday dessert that is most decidedly not pumpkin pie.

Bon appetit!