Poached Pear Tart

This recipe is compliments of Chef Michael Montgomery an instructor at the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder Colorado. I took a Basic Cooking Techniques class from him last spring and really enjoyed it. The crunchy shortbread crust marries well with the soft poached pear and light whipped cream. The original recipe calls for apples and red wine, but I have substituted pears. If white wine doesn’t ring your bell, you can replace it with 2 cups water and 2 cups Grand Marnier or rum and fresh grated ginger.

Poached Pear Tart

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • Crust
  • 14 oz butter approx 28 Tablespoons
  • 6 oz sugar scant 3/4 cup
  • 1 egg
  • 16 oz all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Filling
  • 8 firm not quite ripe pears, peeled
  • 4 cups light white wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 organic cinnamon sticks
  • 4 organic whole cloves
  • 4 organic black peppercorns
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 orange quartered
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp organic ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds for garnish


  1. Crust
  2. Cream butter and sugar together
  3. Add vanilla, salt and egg. Mix until just combined
  4. Add flour and mix until just combined
  5. Press dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  7. Roll and press dough into a tart pan (about 1/8" thick).
  8. Prick the crust thoroughly with a fork.
  9. Line the crust with foil and add pie weights to the foil.
  10. Remove the pie weights and continue baking for 3-5 minutes longer.
  11. Cool crust before filling.
  12. Poached Pear Filling (enough for 2 pies)
  13. Combine wine, sugar, spices and orange in saucepan large enough to hold the pears in a single layer. Slice vanilla bean down the center length-wise and add to the wine sauce. Bring to a simmer. Add 4 pears and poach until they are soft throughout, but not mushy (approx 15 minutes). Remove pears from the pan and cool on a rack. Repeat with the remaining 4 pears.

  14. Reduce the wine mixture until it is smooth and sauce like.
  15. Whip the cream in a cold bowl until almost firm. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and nutmeg. Whisk until firm.
  16. Slice the pears, and place them decoratively in the pre-baked tart shell, drizzle with the wine sauce, and top with a dollop of cream.
  17. Garnish with toasted almonds and serve immediately.

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