Pear Charlotte

We use brioche when making charlottes because it produces a crispier, richer crust. The charlottes can be made ahead and reheated.

Total Time:
1 hr
Prep:
15 min
Cook:
45 min

Yield:
8 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 7 ripe pears, such as Comice or Bartlett, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon pear liqueur
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) sweet butter
  • 1 (9 1/2 by 5 1/2 by 2-inch) loaf brioche, sliced 3/16-inch thick, crusts removed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 recipe Vanilla Custard Sauce, recipe follows
  • Creme fraiche
  • Equipment: 8 (6-ounce) ramekins 3 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches deep
Directions
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Put the pear slices in a large saute pan with 2/3 cup sugar, the salt, pear liqueur, and lemon juice. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the pears are soft. Set aside to cool.

  • Place the butter, the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, and the cinnamon in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment on medium speed, cream the mixture until it is smooth.

  • Butter each piece of brioche with the cinnamon butter. With the long side of the bread closest to you, cut each slice into 3 pieces. Line the sides of the ramekins with the brioche pieces, buttered-side against the ramekin.

  • Compactly fill the inside of each ramekin with about 1/4 cup of the pear mixture. Trim off any brioche that sticks up above the ramekin.

  • Bake the charlottes for 15 to 20 minutes, until the brioche is toasted.

  • Spoon some of the vanilla custard sauce on 4 plates, and unmold the charlottes on top.

  • Top each with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Vanilla Custard Sauce:
  • 10 large egg yolks

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • Pinch salt

  • 3 1/4 cups milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or a 1-inch piece vanilla bean

  • Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a stainless steel mixing bowl until

  • creamy. Set aside.

  • Put the milk and the vanilla extract or vanilla bean in a heavy-bottomed saucepot. Scald the milk, and slowly whisk it into the egg mixture.

  • Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook the custard, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken. It should coat the back of the wooden spoon. Do not let it boil.

  • Cool the custard sauce over an ice bath. Strain and refrigerate until ready to use. Custard sauce will keep for 2 days in the refrigerator.

  • Yield: 3 1/2 cups


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