Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Almond Milk Chai Custard Tarts with Pears (gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

Beautiful, right? It tastes as good as it looks!

This recipe was based off of a wonderful recipe over at Roost. I loved her idea but wanted to change some things about it. Some of her ingredients were hard to find and I didn't feel like driving all over to find them, so I changed some things. I also wanted the crust to have some sweet in it. So this is what I came up with...

Almond Milk Chai Custard Tarts with Pears

Makes 6 mini tarts ( I used these 4" tart pans)

Almond Flour Crust
1 1/2 c. plus 1 tbsp Almond Flour
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. melted coconut oil

1 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tbsp water

Grease 6 4" tart pans with oil. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Divide crust into 6 equal sections and press into pans. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden brown. Let cool on wire racks until ready to use.

Riesling Poached Pears
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups Riesling
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla pod (reserve seeds for chai custard)
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
2 slightly firm but ripe pears (any kind will work, i used d'Anjou pears)

Put all ingredients except for pears in a medium to large pot and bring to a boil. While waiting for it to boil, peel the pears and cut into quarters, and remove the cores. Slowly slip the pears into the boiling liquid and reduce to medium heat. Let pears simmer for about an hour or until very soft. When done, remove pears with slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to garnish custard.

Almond Milk Chai Custard
2 cups UNSWEETENED almond milk

3 chai tea bags (I used Trader Joe's Spiced Rooibos Ruby Red Chai)
3 egg yolks
1/4 c. agave nectar

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp cornstarch
vanilla seeds (scraped from the vanilla pod used in the poached pears)

1. Pour almond milk into medium saucepan, cook on high until just before boiling. Remove from heat and place the tea bags in the milk. Let sit for 15 minutes (move the tea bags around every once in a while).
2. Meanwhile, in large bowl beat eggs yolks, agave and spices with electric mixer for about a minute. Add corn starch and beat until smooth and creamy.
3. Remove tea bags from milk, making sure to press the bags against the side of pan, squeezing as much liquid into the milk as you can.
Slowly add about ½ cup of the warm milk to the egg yolks, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Add the rest of the milk, still stirring constantly, until well incorporated.
5. Pour mixture back into pan and but back on the stove and cook at just under medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon (do not let it boil!!). This might take up to 10 minutes.
6. Pour into a bowl and stir in vanilla seeds. Refrigerate for about an hour, until thickened a bit.

Cut pear quarters into about 5 slices each. Spoon custard into tarts and fan out each sliced pear quarter out on top of custard. You will have extra pear which you can distribute evenly between tarts or just save for later. (The pears taste great on top of yogurt and granola in the morning.) Sprinkle cinnamon over top if desired.

If your tart pans are like mine, you can remove the outer tart section from the bottom part of the pan, and serve tart on just the bottom part of the pan.

You may refrigerate any tarts in airtight container if not being eaten right away

Today's Thoughts...
I really love to bake new things, and create new recipes. But baking stops being fun when things start to go wrong. Does anyone agree with me on this? I was trying to make the custard and the first way I tried was just not working for me. I was getting so frustrated and was about to give up (I had already wasted 10 eggs by this time)! But I tried one more time, tweaking the recipe and using a different method, and it finally worked!! The custard turned out perfect, and I was really glad I kept at it. When recipes aren't going the way they should, I wish I could just see it as a challenge, but instead I come close to tears, lol. Do you get frustrated when things go wrong, or do you see it as a challenge? 

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