Miso Caramel Pear Tarts

A long, long, LONG time ago, I made these caramel tarts with poached apples that I just adored. The caramel was taken to this super dark color that almost resembled chocolate, while the apples, I poached with brown sugar and seared them to give them this gorgeous caramelized finish. Since I made the plate lick cake, I did have some leftover caramelized white chocolate and burnt miso ganache lying around, and this recipe was my quick solution to that! Back in college, I remember watching Unique Sweets on the Cooking Channel, and they talked about this caramel pear tart from a bakery called Bien Cuit in Brooklyn, New York. The tart itself had this super dark caramel that almost resembles chocolate; fun fact, Bien Cuit is French for “well done”, as in the temperature of a steak. In this case, the bakery brings everything to the darker side, which develops a gorgeous flavor in their pastries and caramels! The tart is also topped with poached pear that has been caramelized, something that I decided to do with mine as well.

For the tart shells, we are using miso paste and brown sugar to bring a deeper, more developed flavor to the actual pastry. The filling is made by caramelizing white chocolate with miso, and mixing that with soy milk and butter for a creamy but still caramel-like flavor and consistency. The pears, we are poaching those in a simple syrup made with miso and brown sugar first, then searing them in brown butter to caramelize the exterior. I used boscht pears for this recipe, but anjou pears work really nice as well. I would recommend against Korean pears, because those are too high in water content, and would take forever to poach. It’s not impossible to do, but they tend to go mealy before they finish cooking all the way through just because of their water content. That pear explanation aside, this recipe is rather straightforward, since it is just three components: pastry, filling, and pear. But the three come together to create a toasty, caramel-y experience that screams of the fall or winter!

Makes 2 tarts:
For the tart shell:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp white miso paste
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp cold water

In a bowl, blend together the flour and butter first until they form a fine powder. Then mix together with everything else to form a dough. Chill down the dough for about 5 minutes before rolling it out on a floured surface to about 1/8th-inch thickness. Press into lined 4-inch tartlet molds and weigh with parchment and dried beans or dried rice(baking weights!). Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then remove the baking weights and parchment and continue baking for another 5 minutes at 400 degrees F. Allow the tarts to cool down before removing from the pans and transferring to the freezer to finish cooling.

For the roasted white chocolate-miso ganache:
2 tbsp white miso paste
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter

On a sheet tray, spread the miso paste and white chocolate chips. Roast together at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. Transfer both to a pot with soy milk and butter and bring to a simmer. Once everything is fully melted together, pour into the tart shells and transfer to the freezer.

For the poached pears
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp white miso paste
2 boscht pears, peeled, halved, and cored
1 tbsp unsalted butter

In a pot, heat up water, dark brown sugar, and miso paste and bring to a boil. Place the pears into the liquid and simmer with the pot covered until fork-tender, at least 4 minutes. Place the pears, round side down, onto a nonstick pan with some butter and sear on medium heat just to seal in the juices and caramelize the exterior. Allow the pears to cool down slightly before garnishing the tops of the tarts with. I preferred fanning out the pears before topping the tarts with, just to give them a little more movement and drama, but leaving them whole is not a bad alternative either!

To finish:
Fleur de sel or maldon salt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s