Not a fan of pine nuts? Almond slivers or chopped macadamia nuts would be great, too.
LEMON VERBENA PEAR TART
Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active)
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons minced fresh lemon verbena
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
Heat the oven to 350 F.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the half-and-half and lemon verbena to a simmer. Cover, remove from the heat and set aside to steep.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl use an electric mixer to beat together 1/2 cup of the sugar, the butter, salt and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until a dough just comes together. It should still be a little crumbly. Press 3/4 of the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, being sure to spread it up the sides of the pan. Reserve the remaining dough.
Poke the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, then place it on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and arrange the pear slices over the bottom. Leave the oven on.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until smooth. Whisk in the lemon verbena-infused half-and-half. Pour the mixture over the pears in the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the top, along with the pine nuts, if using.
Return the tart to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is set, the pears are tender and the topping is golden. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories; 170 calories from fat (50 per cent of total calories); 19 g fat (11 g saturated; 0.5 g trans fats); 85 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 15 g sugar; 4 g protein; 55 mg sodium.