HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 y'all!
Birthday, Christmas & New Years was a quiet affair where it felt good to unwind, taking a deep breath to think calmly reflecting all that has happened throughout the year. It was great to be able to catch up with close friends for my Birthday, planned 2 hearty lunches for the family; one on Christmas and the other on New Year's Day where I placed my camera aside and enjoyed a meal, had heartfelt conversations which was much needed.
Last year has been a whirlwind year, filled with heaps of ups & down times. Mostly down times am afraid. However to balance it off, I was fortunate to be able to work on mini projects with other foodie friends. Year 2013 will not be anything short either, as there are already work of projects lined up. Now, it boils down to finding the right time for me to post them up and sharing them with you.
Feeling a whiff of excitement as always and eagerly wanting to share every good eats with you, I may just need you to be patient with my irregular posting. Juggling between work, food blogging and spending some time with my family is a priority I constantly struggle with, as everyone of them and YOU deserve my every single attention. I hope Year 2013 will be sensational and that I will finally be able to find a way to strike a balance in everything I do. Okay, without further a do, lets move on to what I have in place for you starting this year.
No crazy baking and cake decorating, just a simple classy PEAR & BOURBON VANILLA BEAN CUSTARD TART to end a meal. The sweet pastry tart shell is switched up with a blend of aromatic gingery gingersnap, light fluffy basic custard infused with vanilla bean & hint of Bourbon Whiskey making one wonder what is that kick undertone and lastly the topped with the main stars; poached pears. To serve, I drizzled some brown sugar syrup for that additional earthy note. Not to filling, just right and booze is always a good way to celebrate any festive season.
Pear & Bourbon Vanilla Bean Custard Tart
by Chic & Gorgeous Treats
* Makes a single 8-9 inch pie or tart.
* Tart is best served fresh the same day.
* Pear sugar syrup can be used in drinks or in other desserts.
Sweet Gingery Shortcrust Pastry
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup gingersnap cookies, finely crushed
3 tablespoon brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
150g unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
2-3 tablespoons iced water
Poached Pears (Spanish, Anjou, Bosc)
8-10 medium sized pears, halved & cored
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
1 stick vanilla pod, sliced and seeds scraped
Bourbon Vanilla Crème Légere
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
2-4 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped soft peaks
To prepare Poach Pears: (feel free to use Bosc or Anjou pears or whichever is on offer or having a good bargain-I used Spanish pears)
1. In a medium deep saucepan, add sugar and together with 1/2 cup water. Over medium heat, boil until sugar dissolves. Add the pears (cored and halved), along with a sliced-seeds scraped vanilla pod. Turn heat down to low, where syrup is on a gentle simmer, cooking the pears until it becomes translucent in colour but still has a little bite to it. With a slotted spoon, spoon pears out onto a tray or bowl. Once they are cooled, slice them approximately, 1 cm thick. Set aside until it’s ready to be assembled.
To make the Sweet Gingery Shortcrust Pastry shell:
2. Process gingersnap cookies (approximately 1 dozen medium sized ginger snaps) in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the flour, sugar, cubed cold butter and vanilla extract. Blitz or pulse it for about 2-3 minutes or until it resembles slightly moist bread crumbs. While the motor is running, add a tablespoon of iced water at a time to form a smooth dough (I used about 3 tablespoons), and pulse it for another 1 minute until the dough comes together.
3. Transfer the dough to between sheets of parchment paper, and lightly shape it into a disc. Roll out the pastry until about 1/8-inches thick. Then transfer the dough to the fridge and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C.
4. Take dough out of the fridge, and thaw it for about 2 minutes. Remove one side of the parchment paper, line the rolled out dough over the tart pan. Gently press it down, making sure to fill all the edges and removed the other parchment paper. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to remove any excess dough. Prick the bottom with a fork, cover tart shell with a parchment paper, and top with baking weights or beans. Bake pastry for 10 minutes, remove the weights and parchment paper and bake between 8-10 minutes or until pastry is lightly golden in colour.
To prepare Bourbon Vanilla Cream Custard
5. In a medium heatproof bowl, place egg yolks, sugar, plain flour and corn flour and whisk to form a thick paste. Add the milk along with vanilla bean paste in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. While whisking egg and flour mixture pour the vanilla milk in a stream and continue to whisk to combine.
6. Pour the custard mixture back into the saucepan and place back over the heat and lightly whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil then cook a further few minutes or coats the back of a wooden spoon. This pastry cream should be very thick. Sift pastry cream through a strainer into a bowl to remove any lumps. Fold in the bourbon whiskey. Press a piece of cling film onto the surface to prevent skin forming and refrigerate until cool.
To assemble the Bourbon Vanilla Cream Custard Pear Tart:
7. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks and fold into Bourbon Vanilla Custard Cream. If Vanilla Custard is slightly firm, whisk it lightly to help loosen the pastry cream. Fold in whipped cream. Filling will immediately become lighter, rich and fluffy.
8. Pipe or spoon pastry cream filling into tart shell. Top with sliced pears. Transfer Bourbon Vanilla Cream Custard Pear Tart back to the fridge and chill for another 30 minutes. Thaw 5-10 minutes before serving. ENJOY!
P/S: THANK YOU for your support till this very day, and I sure hope you continue to support Chic & Gorgeous Treats as I am forever growing and yearning to improve in this element. May be slow and not necessarily posting regularly as I hoped, for now most posts will be either posted on a MONDAY, WEDNESDAY or FRIDAY.
Have a wonderful year ahead and wishing all of you filled with good health and lots of wealth!!!