Layers of cannabis in this seasonally on-fleek pear tart let bakers adjust potency without upsetting the recipe’s ratios.
BY ED MURRIETA
Pear tart is a fall classic. Made with cannabis butter in both the chocolate crust and in the almond filling, my favorite fruit tart is the height of early autumn enhanced with a hidden layer of hashish caramel.
Here in California, Bartletts are the predominant pear. Millions are being picked in the Sacramento Delta right now, bound for grocery stores nationwide. Soft-fleshed Barts stoke the seasonal economy along with sun-grown bud in now-fire-ravaged Lake County, in the hilly orchards north of Napa.
Many versions of pear tarts, from rustic to rarefied, can be found in all the glossy food-porn magazines, cable TV food circuses and Pinterest. Made with peak-season local pears and freshly harvested sun-grown cannabis, my autumn pear tart impresses and intoxicates.
You can adapt my approach to the recipe of your choice. My layering approach allows the flavors of the tart’s components — the chocolatey crust, the almondy filling, the herby caramel and, especially, the freshly harvested pears — to strut without grassy cannabis interference.
My preferred tart shell is a simple 1-2-3 shortcrust pastry: 1 part powdered sugar, 2 parts cannabis butter and 3 parts flour, or in this case, my mixture of pastry flour, almond flour and cocoa powder, plus an egg yolk.
Use cannabis butter to make your cakey frangipane filling, which also contains almond paste, eggs and flour kissed with cardamom, whose notes of citrus and herbs lock lips with similar aromas and flavors in cannabis.
The hash caramel hidden between the crust and filling? A layer of pure, oozing indulgence. Making the caramel requires no stirring of molten sugar. Poach an extra pear. Stud diced fruit into the cooling caramel. If caramel apples are the apex of autumnal, caramel pears are fall’s ambrosial brass rings.
Be aware that hash intensifies highs and lows. You can replace the hash by using cannabis butter. Omit the caramel layer altogether if you wish, but you’ll wonder “What if?” when you do.
How potent is this pastry? That depends on the strength of the cannabis butter, hashish and cannabis-infused chocolate you use. By layering cannabis throughout this tart, I’ve given bakers the opportunity to adjust the potency without compromising the recipe’s ratios.
As for the pears in this tart, I prefer Bartletts, or Williams pears as they’re known elsewhere in the United States and Canada. Green-skinned or red-skinned, Barts are tender yet firm when poached and baked. Green D’Anjous and brown Boscs are OK alternatives. Other varieties, especially some Asian pears, can be woody and grainy. Select uniformly shaped fruit so your pears poach, slice and splay evenly atop the tart.
There are numerous ways of arranging sliced pears atop the tart. Google “pear tart baking porn” for inspiration. For an 11-inch round tart that serves 12, you’ll need up to four pears. For a 9-inch round tart that serves 8, two or three will do.
I’ve toyed with infusing cannabis into the pears by poaching the fruit in cannabis tincture, but wine wins every time. I stick with and recommend Sacramento’s backyard white wine, easy-drinking Delta chenin blanc. The overlooked varietal enhances pears’ sweetness without changing the flavor of the fruit. Dry Riesling is good, too. So is perry, aka pear cider.
Your tart will keep, covered, on the counter for a few days. It will keep your mind and body occupied for hours. To serve, dollop with lightly whipped creme fraiche. Drizzle with hashish caramel and/or melted cannabis-infused chocolate.
Of course, you can always skip the cannabis and simply savor a fall classic, although autumn colors may be less awesome.