Are you a coffee drinker? I'm not I can't stand the stuff. Coffee has the most amazing aroma though it really is quite deceiving, it smells so sweet and caramelised yet tastes so incredibly bitter. If I do drink it I have to add in piles of sugar and I prefer to use my sugar intake a little more wisely on something I enjoy eating..... such as cake!!! More than a few years ago I was with someone who ordered a chai tea. I remember smelling it thinking wow that smells amazing with all the Indian spices and to my surprise tasted equally as good, so from then on in I have been a chai convert, swapping my hot chocolates to a Chai tea. Sometimes though it is a bit of a hit and miss with chai as there are different forms of the tea, you can get syrups and powders, but my favourite would have to be the actual tea spices, when they are infused into the milk and some honey added. Yum its like a warm comfort drink, perfect for the winter. I have wanted to use it in my baking for ages as I see all these wonderful chai recipes on other sites so finally decided to give it a whirl in this next tart I came up with.
If you don't feel like making the tart, as it does require a bit of time, the poached pears are amazing on there own or would be perfect with some creamed rice:)
Chai and Pear Caramel Tart
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon water
5 small pears (all the same size)
3 cups water
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons chai tea (I used T2)
390g sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup thickened cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
Bouquet garni of chai*
1 cup plain flour
pre heat oven to 170C
To make the pastry, place the butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a food processor and pulse until fine breadcrumbs form. Then add the egg and water, pulse until a dough starts to form. Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Place in cling wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30mins (now is the ideal time to start the pears). Remove from the fridge and roll out until about 2mm thick, turn into a 25cm lined round tin and blind bake for 10 mins. Remove the beans and bake for another 10mins. set aside
Peel the pears and then place into a saucepan with the water, sugar and chai. Let this simmer for about 30minutes on a medium heat or until the pears are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the caramel place the butter, condensed milk and golden syrup into a saucepan, and on a medium heat boil until the mixture becomes golden brown. Make sure you constantly stir otherwise it will stick to the bottom and burn.
To make the topping, Place the cream, butter, sugar, golden syrup and the bouquet of chai into a saucepan and slowly simmer until the ingredients combine, and the chai infuses into the mixture. Remove from the heat and remove the bouquet. Stir in the flour and the egg until well combined.
To assemble, pour the caramel into the tart case, then place the pears in so they are evenly spaced. Pour in the topping and bake for 45 mins or until cooked.
*chai tea wrapped in muslin and tied with string, you could also use two chai teabags.