Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
8 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

"Since most people make an effort to save room for dessert, I came up with something special. This tart combines elements of every good dessert--flaky crust, crunchy caramelized sugar, creamy custard, and soft roasted fruit. You can make all the components ahead of time, but brûlée the pears just before serving." --SaBrina Bone, Test Kitchen Professional

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450°.

Step 2

To prepare pastry, place first 3 ingredients in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly add 2 tablespoons ice water through food chute, processing just until dough starts to come together. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap; press into a disk. Cover and chill 10 minutes in the freezer. Place dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; roll dough into a 10-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan coated with cooking spray; pierce dough with a fork. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Step 3

To prepare pastry cream, combine brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium, heavy saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds and bean to milk mixture. Cook over medium-high heat until thick and bubbly (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly. Place egg in a large bowl. Gradually stir hot milk mixture into egg. Return milk mixture to pan; cook 2 minutes or until mixture reaches 185° and coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly. Discard vanilla bean. Spread pastry cream onto a baking sheet; cover entire surface with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until chilled. Spread pastry cream evenly into tart shell; cover and chill at least 2 hours or until set.

Step 4

To prepare topping, combine juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pears; toss well to coat. Place pears, cut side down, in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 45 minutes or until tender. Cool completely; thinly slice. Place on paper towels; pat dry with additional paper towels. Arrange the pear slices spoke-like over pastry cream. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.

Step 5

Sprinkle 1/3 cup granulated sugar evenly over pears, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Holding a kitchen blowtorch about 2 inches from the top of custard, heat the sugar, moving the torch back and forth, until the sugar is melted and caramelized (about 3 minutes). Serve immediately.

Ratings & Reviews

Tinkerbell0914's Review

July 22, 2013

LillieCooks's Review

December 26, 2010
The roasted pears were wonderful. I followed the recipe exactly the Creme Brulee filling was the worst I have ever tasted. The tart shell did not roll out to 10 inches. I finally divided the pastry into 2 3-inch tart pans, cooked as directed. Will never make this again.

laurazak's Review

October 29, 2010
I am an experienced baker and thought this recipe was a lot of trouble. My pears also burned on the bottom and the custard was runny and did not set. I make French pastries often, but this recipe just would not work correctly.

Andrea613's Review

October 08, 2010
I've made this a few times and actually prefer the custard without dairy. I also add add'l pears. its gorgeous and I get rave reviews each time! the custard works in other applications as well. CL has made me a GREAT baker!

rikki01's Review

January 05, 2010
One of the worst recipes ever. Nothing worked. Not enough crust so it was too thin, pears burnt on bottom so i wound up poaching them, cream did not set up, and sugar did not brulee as the pear juice dissolved the sugar on contact! I am a fairly accomplished cook, this was just bad.

chel27's Review

January 02, 2010
I made this for a Christmas dinner. Overall a great recipe, my dad and husband had a second serving and they usually prefer chocolate cakes. The custard filling was not as thick as I had expected. I might try adding a little cornstarch next time to thicken it up. Will definitely make it again.

JordanMcCall's Review

December 05, 2009
I made two of these for Thanksgiving and they were gone in a matter of minutes!! They only problem was finding the tart pan. I could only find an 11-inch tart pan, so I tripled the recipe and it worked just fine! Its my new holiday treat for years to come (and in between)!!!!!