I had been giddy with excitement and chanting “Pie Pie Pie” all week. Our monthly supper club met again today for an early Pi(e) Day (March 14) celebration. This was our biggest get-together yet this year! It was a potluck of pies. Sweet or savoury? Double or single crust? Butter, lard, or shortening? It was baker’s choice and the variety everyone brought to the table was staggering! 14 bakers and 23 pies, can you say epic?
Yup, this is what epic looks and tastes like (you can read more about our party at Bon Eats) It’s not easy to stand out among so many delectable pies. Although spring is upon us, I still have citrus on my mind. I chose to feature the refreshing Japanese yuzu in two different forms. I made a Yuzu Meringue Pie with all butter crust using European-style high butterfat butter and billowy brown sugar Italian meringue. As much as I love every single component of this pie and its majestic good looks, I did not budget enough time for the filling to set. There was zero structural integrity! It was a fluffy cloud of deliciousness best served with a large spoon.
However, my other creation is the reason for this post. I made a Black Sesame Yuzu Pear Tart and couldn’t be more pleased with the result. It is a Japanese twist on the French patisserie classic pear tart with frangipane. Pate brisee tart crust, yuzu peels, black sesame cream, and yuzu-infused poached pears may look unassuming. But the contrast between rich and nutty black sesame, creamy pears, and aromatic yuzu was unexpected yet harmonious.
Fresh yuzu is not easy to come by in North America. In the odd chance that you find one, it has probably travelled far and wide for weeks. A better alternative is to source 100% bottled yuzu juice and foil packets of frozen yuzu peels. In Toronto, I buy them from Heisei Mart at J-Town. A word of warning: they are by no means cheap! A 750mL bottle of juice cost me over $35 and a 100g packet of peel was $12 for many many yuzu treats.
At first glance, the Black Sesame Yuzu Pear Tart seems fussy with multiple components to make. That is a bit deceiving. Each component is simple enough on its own and actually better to make ahead anyway. On the day you want to serve the tart, assembly is a breeze. With no further ado, here is the recipe.
Black Sesame Yuzu Pear Tart
makes one 9 1/2 inch tart
Yuzu Poached Pears
- 500mL water
- 130g sugar
- 20g frozen yuzu peel, cut into thin stripes
- 2 d’Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and quartered
- 162g all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 85g cold unsalted butter, cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon ice water
Black Sesame Cream
- 85g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 130g sugar
- pinch of salt
- 75g ground black sesame
- 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Yuzu Poached Pears (can be made up to 5 days ahead)
- Fill medium saucepan with water, sugar, and yuzu peel. Bring to boil. Add pear quarters and cover with a round of parchment paper. Lower heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes until pears are tender. If you pierce with a paring knife, it should insert without resistance.
- Empty pear and syrup into an airtight container. Cool to room temperature and store in fridge until needed. Let the yuzu peels infuse the pears for at least overnight.
Pate Brisee (can be made up to 3 days ahead)
- In the bowl of a food processor, whir together flour, sugar, and salt for 30 seconds.
- Drop in cold butter pieces and pulse until the pieces are about the size of a chickpea.
- Whisk together egg and ice water. Add to food processor and pulse until dough is still crumbly but holds together when squeezed.
- Empty crumbs onto a large plate lined with plastic wrap. Squeeze dough until it holds together and shape into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and store in fridge for at least an hour.
Black Sesame Cream (can be made up to 1 day ahead)
- In the bowl of a food processor, whir together butter, sugar, and salt until smooth.
- Add ground black sesame, flour, and cornstarch. Process until homogenous.
- Add egg and vanilla extract. Process until smooth.
- Empty into airtight container and chill in fridge for at least an hour.
- Remove dough disk from refrigerator and let it sit in room temperature for about 10 minutes until it is workable. Have a 9 1/2 inch tart tin with removable bottom at the ready.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 12 inch circle. Line the tart tin with dough and fold the overhang to reinforce the sides of the tart with double layers of dough.
- Chill the shaped dough for one hour or overnight. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 400F. Line the dough with a piece of foil and fill with pie weights. Par bake the crust for 20 minutes, remove foil and pie weights, bake for another 5 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, drain pears and yuzu peels from syrup. Cut each pear quarter to 1/4-inch thickness with the stem end still attached. Set the yuzu peels aside.
- Reduce oven to 350F. Scatter yuzu peels over the bottom of the par baked crust. Evenly spread black sesame cream over the yuzu peels and level with an offset spatula. Gently fan out the pear quarters and press into sesame cream. You’ll have two quarters leftover.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until sesame cream is puffed and looks dry. Cool for 30 minutes and unmould from tin. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Not enough pies? Here are a whole bunch of pies I made previously. Take your pick for Pi Day!
Sweet Pies & Tarts
- Wild Blueberry Pie
- Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie
- Nutella Banoffee Cream Pie
- Oatmeal Chocolate Pie
- Harvest Apple Pie with Cranberries and Rum Raisins
- Caramel Pumpkin Pie
- Sour Cherry Lattice Pie
- Ginger Kuri Squash Pie
- Yuzu Meringue Pie
- Mixed Berries Streusel Pie
- Blood Orange Almond Tart
- Malted Crisp Tart
- Blackberry & Coconut Macaroon Tart