Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare Poached Pears and refrigerate overnight. Prepare Graham Shortbread Crust. Prepare the Caramel Filling.
To Assemble the Tart: Cut the poached pears into 1/4-inch thick slices, reserving the poaching liquid for another use. Arrange the pear slices in concentric circles in the cooled Graham Shortbread Crust. Pour the lukewarm Caramel Filling over the pears in the crust.
Bake until the Caramel Flling is bubbly, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
Serve warm with softly whipped cream.
Makes 12 servings.
5 cups white wine
1 cup granulated sugar
Finely-grated zest of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
1 (1-inch thick) slice of fresh ginger
5 or 6 firm pears, peeled, halved and cored
In a heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the wine, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon stick, and ginger; bring just to a boil and then add the halved pears.
Lower heat to medium and poach the pears until fork tender, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Cool the pears in the liquid and refrigerate until ready to use. For the best flavor, refrigerate them in the liquid overnight, if possible.
Graham Shortbread Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup graham flour*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
* Graham flour makes this variation taste like a grown-up graham cracker.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, graham flour, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. With the motor running, slowly add the butter and process until the dough forms a ball on top of the blade. Remove the dough from the food processor; if it is too soft to work with, refrigerate until it's easier to handle.
Press the dough into a well-greased 10-inch tart pan. (The easiest way to do this is to first press it into the sides of the pan, then finish with the bottom of the pan.) Bake just until set but not brown, approximately 10 minutes; remove from oven and let cool completely.
Makes enough for one 9- to 10-inch tart
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup pear brandy
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a large saute pan with sides or a heavy saucepan, add the sugar. Carefully moisten the sugar with the water, being very careful not to splash the water and sugar onto the sides of the pan.
Over high heat, cook the sugar mixture, without stirring, until you start to see any part of it turning brown, then swirl the pan to even out the color. Cook until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes longer.
Slowly and carefully add the cream to the hot sugar, taking care to pour it in slowly because it will bubble up very violently. Add the brandy and cook, without stirring, until the caramelized sugar has liquefied again and the mixture is very smooth and a deep golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm. Then whisk in the egg and nutmeg.