These pear tarts are super easy, yet impressive for serving at your next dinner party or afternoon tea. Their flavour is gently spiced and delicate.
Pear flan tarts
4 x mini flan tins with loose bottoms
2 x sheets of puff pastry
4 x pears, peeled, cored
2 x star anise
2 x cinnamon quills
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp honey, extra, melted
8 tbsp brown sugar
Bring a pot of water to boil. The pot should be big enough to fit the pears in with space around them. Add star anise, cinnamon quills, honey and sugar. Turn heat down to simmer.
Peel and core your pears. To core just cut around the core at the base of the pear and scrap out, don't core right through the centre as you want to retain the stalk.
Submerge the pears in the water so they are entirely covered, and simmer for 30 minutes. In order to stop the pears from discolouring, make a 'Cartouche' - cut a circle of baking paper the same size as the pot and cut a small hole out of the middle. Place the paper on the surface of the water, and push down every so often to release steam.
Turn oven onto 200°C, and prepare mini flan tins by spraying with non-stick spray.
Roll out the puff pastry and line the tins. I turn the pastry sides back on themselves for this tart to get an extra puffy case edge.
Once pears are done, carefully spoon them out of the pot and place on a rack, sitting on their bottoms. Cut the bottoms to flatten if they are not sitting up. Let them cool.
(I like to retain the poaching water for yummy cold drinks. Pour the water into a jar and refrigerate.)
Once cool, slice the pears downwards from the stalk, with each slice about 4-5mm thick.
Carefully sprawl a pear 'flan' into each pastry case. Brush honey on tops of pear and sprinkle with brown sugar.
Cook for 20 minutes, or until golden.
Serve warm tarts, dusted with icing sugar. Cream, plain yoghurt or ice-cream will complement these delicate flavours well.
With the left over poaching water in your fridge, fill up a jug with half soda water and half poached water, add ice and some mint leaves, and you have yourself a homemade cool drink!