Poached Pear and Cardamom Apple Butter Tart (gluten-free)

Chris brought me some tiny adorable pears from the Adirondacks.  I had an apple that was bruised and beginning to rot.  I also had a half full bottle of white wine and an orange.  We had guests coming over for dinner.  I made this tart.  I got the poached pear recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.  I made the cardamom apple butter up…you might know a better way to do it.

A few months later, I found myself with exactly the same ingredients (except that the pears were large) and I made the tart again.  This time I took pictures. It’s good and I made it up!


  • 1 apple (it can be past its prime)
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 large piece of orange zest
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 9 tiny, ripe but firm pears
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • The seeds from several cardamom pods
  • 1 pre-paked gluten-free pie crust recipe below
  1. Cut the apple into chunks and throw it in a heavy sauce pan with some water.  I did not bother peeling or coring it.  Cover the pan and turn the heat to medium high.
  2. Bring the wine, juice, orange zest and sugar to a gradual boil in another heavy saucepan.  Meanwhile peel the pears, halve them, cut out their stems and remove their seeds with a round metal teaspoon.
  3. Add the pears to the syrup and simmer them until they are translucent on the edges, 20 to 40 minutes (see the picture below).
  4. Meanwhile, Check on your apples to see if it needs more water. When it breaks down into apple sauce, run it through a food mill to remove the seeds and peels and return it to the saucepan.  Cook over medium low heat stirring frequently.
  5. Transfer the cooked pears to a bowl.  Add the honey to the wine syrup and simmer until it is amber-colored and a very thick syrup.
  6. By now you should be paying very close attention to your apple butter.  It will require constant stirring.  You should cook it until it is totally smooth and a very dark brown color.  The color indicates that the sugar from the apples has caramelized a bit. Yum!
  7. When the apple butter is done, crack open several cardamom pods and throw the seeds into the butter.
  8. Spread the apple cardamom butter into the pre-baked crust.  Arrange the pears on top of the apple butter
  9.  Right before serving pour the honey wine syrup over the tart and garnish with the orange peel.
PRE BAKED GLUTEN-FREE PIE CRUST (from Gluten Free Baking Classics)
  • 1 cups plus 2 Tablespoons gluten-free rice flour mix (recipe below)
  • 2 Tablespoons sweet rice flour (also known as mochi or glutinous rice flour)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons lemon  juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Butter a pie tin and dust it with rice flour.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  4. Cut the butter in to the dry ingredients and use your fingers to combine until it has the consistency of course cornmeal.
  5. Whisk the eggs and juice together.
  6. Add the liquid to the flour and butter and combine into a ball.
  7. Measure out four 12 inch sheets of wax paper.  Roll the disk of dough out between two sheets of wax paper.
  8. Remove one of the sheets of wax paper and flip the dough into the pie tin.
  9. Remove the second sheet of wax paper and press the dough in to the pie tin using your fingers to repair any cracks.
  10. Bake the crust for 18 minutes at 375 degrees.

GLUTEN-FREE RICE FLOUR MIX (from Gluten-free Baking Classics)

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cups potato starch (NOT POTATO FLOUR)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour

This will make enough flour mix for two single crust pies plus extra for flouring your rolling surface.

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