16 September 2010

Pear Tart

I'm obsessed with Pears.

Have you noticed?

I also gained possession of a tart pan recently.
With which I'm obsessed.

Lots of obsession going on.

So, I decided I would make a Pear Tart.

Well, that was harder than I imagined. I flipped through my 12 favorite cookbooks. I do not exaggerate. I could not find a recipe for a Pear Tart. Even my delighful Joy of Cooking failed me. Well, there was a recipe for apple tartlets for which you could substitute pears, it said, but still...

Anyway, so I went to google. And facebook. Well, a friend on facebook suggested I use Julia Child's apple tart recipe. And google led me straight to the number one rated pear tart recipe on Food Network, one by Ellie Krieger.

So, I combined the two, and tinkered/added a few things that sounded yummily to me.

Julia's Apple Tart recipe, here.
Ellie's Pear Tart recipe, here.

I didn't just use Ellie's recipe because, well, I don't believe in healthy desserts. I believe in healthy muffins, bread, salad dressing, pasta -

But dessert? Just skip it if you are watching your calores... =) But, I recognize that I'm not as big a dessert fan as the next guy, so I recognize that Ellie has a place.

But I wasn't interested in her whole wheat tart crust -

AND, i really like a sweet crust on a sweet dessert. Savory pie crusts for savory pies. It just makes order in the world - and more importantly, it tastes better.

So, here's what I did:

In a mixing bowl, I placed
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 5 Tbsps granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder

Then I cut in, with a pastry cutter,
  • 7 Tbsps chilled butter, cut up

(Yes, I probably could have used a food processor, but I was listening to Ada Brooks read out loud and pastry cutting in was just the level of manual distraction I needed).

Then, with a fork, I incorporated
  • 1 large egg, which had been beaten together with
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond (Why? Because Pears and Almond go together like a horse and carriage)

The pastry came together in a ball. I wrapped it in Saran, mashed it into a disk, and put it into the fridge for not long enough. You probably need 45 minutes. I had 15 minutes in, 15 minutes in the car on the way to my moms for it to come right back to room temp, and 20 minutes in the fridge once I got there. Learn from my mistakes.

Then, for the filling, I peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3 medium pears, of medium ripeness.
In a bowl, I tossed said pears with

  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps Corn Starch
  • 4 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond

(Always use real flavoring. If you think it's too expensive, call me, I'll run to sams and buy you enough real vanilla to last you six months of daily baking. And all other extracts are so rarely used, just make the investment. Trust me.)

Then, roll out your tart crust to about a ten inch circle. (I didn't even use my new tart pan). You'll need to flour your rolling pin and do it on a floured surface. This is when chilled dough comes in. If it's not chilled enough, you, like me, will be trying not to cuss in front of your mother.

Put the rolled out crust onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. (someone, please explain to me if wax paper is interchangeable with parchment and why or why not - will wax really get on your food? and if wax paper is just parchment paper coated in wax, why does wax paper cost a fraction of parchment paper...)

Mound your pear mixture in the middle of your crust, leaving a 2 inch border all the way around. Flip that 2 inch border up on top of your pears, it will cover the outside fifth of the tart.

Pop it into an oven which you have preheated to 450. Set timer for 15 minutes. Without removing tart, turn oven down to 350. Set timer for 15 more minutes. Should be nicely golden, but if not, give it another 5-10.

You could do a glaze - either honey or apricot - but I chose to leave it alone. The almond, cinnamon and pears didn't need another flavor with which to compete and I didn't need another thing to do. My feet already hurt.

All the time.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream or nothing at all and at room temperature or, like I did, when I realized that I had transported all of my vanilla ice cream to my mother's house, just pop on some chocolate.

Because we all know that pears and chocolate taste good together.

(It was better the night before with vanilla ice cream...)

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