Asian Pear Tart
By Chef Ida Rodriguez

Ingredients

Pastry Shell

1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
6 Tablespoons Confectioners' Sugar
1 stick Unsalted Butter chopped
2 Tablespoons Shortening
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Sour Cream
1 large Egg Yolk
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
3 Tablespoons Water
1/4 cup milk or cream

Filling

1 pound Asian Pears
1 1/2 cups Water
1 cup Sugar
1 Canela (Cinnamon Sticks)
2 teaspoons Organic Lemon juice freshly squeezed

Directions

Make Pastry Shell In a food processor or in a bowl with a pastry blender, pulse or blend together flour, confectioners' sugar, butter, shortening and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl stir together sour cream, yolk, vanilla and 3 tablespoons water until combined well and add to flour mixture. Pulse or blend mixture just until dough forms a ball.

Form three fourths dough into a large, thick disk and form remaining one fourth dough into a small, thick disk. Chill disks, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

Adjust oven racks, one in the center and one above. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using a 9" tart or pie pan, lightly dust with flour and place on a sheet pan. Put large dough disk in middle of a sheet of parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. Roll out dough into an 11-inch round (about 3/8 inch thick) and cut out a 10-inch circle. If using a tart pan, carefully transfer dough to pan without cutting dough on rim.

Gently ease dough into bottom and sides. Press dough against sides, then trim off edges by running rolling pin over edge to cut off dough. If using pie pan, carefully transfer to pan, gently ease into bottom and sides. Fold dough edge upon itself then crimp or pinch as desired to form a decorative edge. Using tines of fork, prick bottom and sides of dough.

In a small bowl, pour milk or cream. Using a pastry brush or tips of your fingers, lightly brush edges of unbaked crust with cream. Roll remaining disk to 3/8" thickness. Cut out free form shapes or use cookie cutters to make leaves or fruit shapes as garnish for finished tart. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly 'wash' with milk mixture.

Place prepared pie dough on cookie sheet in middle of oven and trim pieces on upper rack. Bake shell in middle of oven, checking after 10 minutes and lightly pricking again if center rises, until pale golden, 15 to 17 minutes.

Cool shell and trim pieces completely on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Shell and trim pieces may be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Filling

Peel Asian Pears and cut into 8 wedges, coring it. Cut each wedge cross-wise into thin slices and in a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan combine with water, sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and simmer 45-90 minutes or until Asian pears are tender and syrup is reduced and thickened. Discard cinnamon stick and cloves and stir in lemon juice.

Cool filling 5 minutes and spread evenly in shell. Tart may be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Serve with a dollop of freshly sweetened whipped cream.