4 winter pears (red pears work well)
2 cups Claret wine
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
3 whole cloves
1/2 inch piece of stick cinnamon
1 slice fresh lemon
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup cold water
Wash pears; pare but leave the stems on.
Combine the wine, water, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and lemon slice in a glass or enamel saucepan large enough to hold the four pears. Add pears. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, or until pears are tender. Remove pears. Cool pears in refrigerator for slicing later.
Strain the remaining wine juice to remove spices. Return 2 cups of wine juice to saucepan and return to heat.
Combine corn starch with cold water whisking to make lump free. Gradually add corn starch liquid to heated wine until desired thickness and allow to bubble 1 minute.
Pour into glass bowl and chill thoroughly before glazing the finished tart.
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons sour cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place flour, butter and sour cream in a bowl and beat to combine with a mixer. When dough has formed a ball, knead a few times with a little more flour before patting it into the bottom and sides of ungreased round tart pan, or au gratin dish. Bake 15 minutes until crust is set but not browned. Cool while preparing filling. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.
4 egg yolks
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
Combine egg yolks, sour cream, vanilla, lemon zest, sugar and flour and beat until smooth.
Remove chilled pears and slice them vertically into even slices. Arrange them overlapping edges on top of baked crust until it's completely covered.
Pour filling mixtures over the pears. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour or until the custard sets and is pale golden in color. Cover with aluminum foil tent if the crust starts to get too dark during the last few minutes of baking. Transfer tart to wire rack to cool.
Final preparation and presentation:
Once the tart is cooled to room temperature, spread a nice layer of thickened wine glaze over the top.
If the glaze has set up too much, microwave it for a few seconds to soften it for easier spreading.
Tart needs to be refrigerated, but is best served closer to room temperature.