Friday, October 31, 2008

Caramel Pear (should have been poached figs...) Tart

I have a confession to make, the one fruit I've had serious issues with is figs. I adore dried figs, I grew up with a friend having a fig tree and remember standing around her backyard with watching her dog go a little loopy due to the fermented figs it was consuming. But I never really tried figs, and so it is one of the rare fruits that I don't know how to choose. 

I worked for years in a fruit and veggie shop in Australia, helping customers go through the produce and decide what is ripe, and what is tasty. So usually I feel pretty confident choosing good produce. Bar figs. We never really had them at the shop and so I feel that I have this void in my fig knowledge. I know they come from tree's with funny shaped leaves, they come in various colors and sizes, that their season is nowish (though it seems that now is a little late). But I'm not sure which ones to eat and how I go about cooking them, because poaching them makes them taste and smell like the one room at an airport people can smoke. Any advice would be appreciated. 

Anyway back to the tart, this is from my current favorite book 'Mes Tartes'. I love caramel, and I have a friend who loves caramel AND figs so I thought this was a winning combo until I smelled the stinky an alternative I used beautifully ripe Williams Pears, peeled, cored and sliced to around 4mm thick. They worked pretty well with the caramel. The base of the tart was as always a pate sucre, with an almond cream with creme fraiche incorporated, then it was baked until firm, caramel (with a amazingly subtle hint of vanilla bean in it) poured on top, then a layer of pears and then some more caramel. That's it, a really good tart. However, I think I'd like to use the caramel again with a more simplified (read cheaper base: almonds = expensive and creme fraiche = crazy expensive) because you can't really taste these with the caramel being so dominant. So I'll have to research and alternative. 

Honestly though, you can't really go wrong with caramel. 


Erin Phraner said...

I'd love to hear about what cheap alternatives you have for almond crust and creme fraiche!

Mindy Moo said...

Love the caramel oozing down the side