Tea Poached Pear + Caramel Tart
1.5 hr Cooking Time, Makes 8
For the caramel
1 cup granulated sugar
100g salted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
For the tarts
4 tbsp T2 New York Breakfast Tea
175g soft light-brown sugar
4 fat pears, under-ripe
4 sheets ready-made puff pastry
8 bay leaves
For the caramel
Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.
Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2 minutes. (If you notice the butter separating or if the sugar clumped up, remove from heat and vigorously whisk to combine it again. Keep whisking until it comes back together, even if it takes 3-4 minutes. It will eventually– just keep whisking. Return to heat when it’s combined again.)
Very slowly pour in the cream while continuing to stir. Since the cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to slightly cool down before using. Caramel thickens as it cools.
For the tarts
Put the water, tea brown sugar into a pan large enough to hold all the pears. Heat gently, stirring occasionally to help the sugar dissolve.
Peel the pears, halve, core and put them into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil and then turn down to a very low simmer.
Gently cook the pears, turning them over from time to time to make sure that every bit of them comes into contact with the wine. They should be tender but not falling apart. The more slowly you cook the pears the better – they take on the colour of the tea that way.
Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set them on to a plate in a single layer (they cool better if they’re not piled on top of each other).
Reduce the cooking liquid by boiling until it is slightly syrupy (remember that it will thicken as it cools). Leave the syrup to cool.
Take each pear half and make cuts from the top of the pear (the stalk end) to the bottom leaving about 1cm uncut at the top, so that you can fan them out, separating the slices a little.
Carefully put a 1 tablespoon of cooled caramel and a pear half on top of defrosted puff pastry (you should be able to fit to pears on each sheet). Cut a 1.5cm border around the pears. Brush the rims with melted butter. Bake in an oven preheated to 230°C for 10 minutes.
Brush each pear half with the remaining tea syrup and place a bay leaf.
Serve as soon as they’re cooked, with ice-cream, whipped cream or crème fraîche.