Newport High School students rolling out pie crust for a pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)
Tracy Green, a teacher at the Newport High School Culinary Arts program, and four of her students came to the Mercer Island Farmers Market this past Sunday to show our community how to make a pear cream tart (see recipe below).
Before the students began the chef demo, Tracy provided an introduction to the NHS Culinary Arts curriculum. Tracy explained that it is actually a joint program of eight public school districts on the Eastside, including the Mercer Island public schools, not just that of the Bellevue School District. Most of the audience hadn’t realized that our community’s public schools and Mercer Islanders participated in the program.
Newport High School students preparing cream sauce for a pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)
For the chef demo, the NHS Culinary Arts students each demonstrated a different aspect to the making of the pear cream tart. One rolled out the pie crust, another made the cream sauce, and yet another sliced the pears and carefully arranged them in the tart tin. Finally, two of the students working together poured the cooled cream sauce into the tart tin.
Each of the students taught those in the audience new skills specific to pear cream tarts—working with pastry, cooking cream sauce, slicing and arranging pears to create an attractive dessert…
Newport High School students carefully arranging sliced pears in a pastry-filled tart tin for a pear cream tart at the chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)
In addition to these skills, the students also taught the audience more general cooking skills and knowledge:
- the importance of using a non-reactive sauce pan, such as stainless steel, when making cream sauces;
- the meaning of the cooking term nappé (when a sauce in the process of being cooked becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon);
- the name of a specialized type of strainer—a chinoise, its uses, and the importance using a rounded whisk inside of it, so as not to damage its mesh…
Newport High School students pouring cream sauce through a chinois into the tart tin for a pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)
At the end of the chef demo, the students handed out to audience members samples of pear cream tart that they had prepared earlier at the NHS kitchen. The audience quickly gobbled up the slices and went home with the skills and the strong desire to make a pear cream tart themselves.
The Mercer Island Farmers Market would like to thank Tracy Green, her students, and the Newport High School Culinary Arts program for taking the time on Sunday to come out to the Mercer Island Farmers Market to teach and feed us all.
We hope that you had as good of a time at the MI Farmers Market as we had watching you cook and eating your delicious pear cream tart.
Please come back next farmers market season.
A Newport High School student displaying a finished pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)
Biretaertel (Pear Cream Tart)
Preheat oven to 375°F
Pie dough for one pie crust
Three (3) pears, peeled, halved, de-stemmed, and cored, hold in salted cold water (1-quart cold water with 1 T salt) while preparing cream mixture and pie crust.
Prepare pastry by rolling it out so that it is a ¼-inch thick and one inch larger than tart tin. Trim off crust overage with scissors leaving ½ inch of dough above the sides of the tart tin. Fold the overage inside the tart tin.
Heat ingredients together in a non-reactive sauce pan
½ c sugar
½ t salt
2 c heavy cream
2 T pear liqueur
½ t vanilla
Once the mixture is hot and bubbling through the center, whisk in 2 T flour.
Cook until it coats the back of a spoon or is nappé. Remove from heat
Rinse pears and slice horizontally into ¼-inch slices, keeping the slices together to keep the pear shape. Arrange pears in tart tin in a spoke formation.
Pass the cream sauce through a fine mesh sieve (chinoise), hold spoon underneath cream to diffuse it and pour over pears. Do not over fill tart pan with cream mixture (approximately 2/3 of the way from the top of the crust).
Place a drip pan in the bottom of the oven in case of overflow. Bake on bottom rack at 375°F for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F, raise to top rack and bake another 20-25 minutes or until gold brown.
Refrigerate to allow tart to set.
Serves six to eight.
Source: Newport High School Culinary Arts