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Published February 06, 2010, 12:00 AM

CHEF JEFF — ONE BYTE AT A TIME: Pear Bourdaloue

Pear Bourdaloue is a tasty version of a French classic.

By: Herald Staff Report,

Pear Bourdaloue is a tasty version of a French classic.

Pear Bourdaloue

Tart shell

1 2/3 cup flour

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons ice water

In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter using pastry cutter or fingers. In small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and vanilla. Work egg mixture into flour mixture just until it resembles cornmeal. Stir in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, just until dough holds together. Form dough into disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Roll it out until it is just over 13 inches in diameter. Fit dough into11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Trim dough so it is flat with top of tart pan, then line and fill shell with pie weights or beans. Blind bake tart shell until set, about 20 minutes. Remove pie weights and set shell on rack to cool.

Poached Pears

1 quart water

1½ cups sugar

4 pears, preferably Bartlett, peeled and halved lengthwise

In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to poaching temperature (not quite a simmer) and poach the pears just until tender (a knife should pierce easily). Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and cool completely. Core the cooled pear halves and slice each half lengthwise into 6 slices.

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY:

2 tablespoons chilled butter

2/3 cup almond meal or flour

2 1/3 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, split

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup sugar

½ cup flour

Tart shell

Poached pears

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, place the butter and almond meal. Set aside. (Do not worry about mixing them together.)

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and vanilla bean. Bring the milk just to a simmer over high heat, then remove from heat and discard the bean pod.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour. Whisk in about a cup of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs, then whisk in the remaining milk until combined. Whisk the mixture over medium heat just until it thickens. Immediately remove from heat, pour the mixture over the butter and almond meal and whisk.

Spread the filling in the tart shell and top with the sliced pears (you may not use all of the pears; we used about three-fourths of the slices). Bake the tart until the custard is lightly browned and set, about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Yield: Serves 16.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 253 calories, 5 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 13 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 15 grams sugar, 100 milligrams sodium.Grab more food tidbits at the Chef Jeff blog at GrandForksHerald.com.

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