Be tempted by this delicious dessert using poached pears in vincotto and a zesty ricotta and Gran Manier filling.
Tap, tap, tap to crack the delightful centre sugar crust.
150g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
Juice and rind strips of a lemon
2 rind strips of an orange
1/3 cup vincotto
4-5 medium corella pears, peeled
1/3 cup demerara or caster sugar (demerara sugar will offer a richer taste)
handful almonds for sprinkle, toasted (optional)
250g plain flour, sifted
150g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
50g caster sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked with iced water (20ml-30ml water )
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
375g firm ricotta, drained
60g icing sugar
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tbsp Grand Marnier
125ml full cream
Lightly grease a 25cm tart pan with a removable base.
For the pastry
Process the flour, butter and sugar together in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the whisked egg yolk and water to the food processor and process until the mixture just comes together. Using your hands, form the mixture into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface to 5mm thick.
Line the prepared tart pan with the pastry and trim the edges. Cover and refrigerate for a further 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cover the pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking weights. Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden brown.
Remove the weights and set aside to cool.
Place water, sugar, vanilla, lemon and orange rinds and vincotto in a deep, small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Place pears stem-side up in the saucepan and reduce to a simmer. Cover with cartouche and cook pears over a low heat until they are tender, approx. 30-50min, depending on pear size and ripeness. Add lemon juice over pears. Remove pears using a slotted spoon and allow the pears to cool, reserve poaching syrup.
Place the egg, egg yolk, ricotta, sugar, orange zest and liqueur in a bowl of the electric mixer and mix until you get a smooth mixture.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream with on high speed until soft peaks form.
Fold the cream into the ricotta mixture and spoon into the prepared tart case.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden at 180C degree. Set aside until ricotta is firm and cooled.
Whilst tart is cooling, prepare to slice the pears. Use a melon baller or a teaspoon scoop out the base of the pear to remove the seeds and some of the woody core. Using a sharp knife slice vertical cuts all around the pear and then twist the pear so that the bottom edges fan out a little. Cut the steam and separate the slices.
Gently arrange the pear slices in a concentric circle, overlapping slightly on the cooled tart .
Warm up the poaching pear syrup until it has thickened. This can be kept in a sterilized bottle for a few days refrigerated and drizzled over tart.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup demerara sugar evenly over pears, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Holding a kitchen blowtorch about 2 inches from the top of ricotta, working quickly heat the sugar, moving the torch back and forth, until the sugar is melted and caramelized (about 3 minutes).
In the center, add enough sugar to get a sugar crust like a crème brulee. Burn the sugar in the center a little more to add bitter sweetness to the dish.
Serve and drizzle with syrup, a sprinkle of almonds and shards of the delicious sugar crust ricotta.