Custard gingerbread tart with Chai poached pears


An eggless dessert that is great for so many occasions. Diwali, Thanksgiving even Christmas. You can use different pears like Anjou or Bartlett to make this dessert. They tend to be larger so you will need fewer pears.


  • 2 cup water
  • 2 whole star anise seeds removed
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 black whole peppercorns
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 350 ML ginger ale or ginger soda
  • Peel and juice of one orange
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 8-10 small to medium firm Indian pears (Nakh), peeled and cored, leaving stems on
  • 1/2 cup custard powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup whipped vanilla cream
  • 350 grams Digestives
  • 10 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons skinned roasted hazelnut pieces


  1. Blitz crackers, ginger powder and cinnamon to a fine powder. Then add butter and blitz again until you have a soft dough.
  2. Press dough into a 7 inch square French tart pan wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours until firm.
  3. Heat milk then add custard powder, stir and cook till you have a smooth thick spreadable custard. Cool 20 minutes. If lumpy strain your custard.
  4. Pour custard into the prepared tart over the crust, smoothen the custard then cover with wrap and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
  5. In a large pot about 10 inches wide combine water, sugar, whole spices ginger ale and orange peel. Cook 8 minutes on a low flame.
  6. Then place pears stem facing upwards into the liquid. Cover with a piece of parchment and cook on a slow flame until tender. Pears should be fully submerged in the liquid.
  7. Do not over cook; the pears should be easy to slice. The poaching time will vary depending on the ripeness of the pears.
  8. Remove tart from the fridge and unmold onto a serving plate. Cover with whipped cream. Slice each pear so it can be spread across the cream easily. If you use the smaller Indian pears you can leave them whole. Top with toasted hazelnuts and drizzle with cooled poaching syrup.