I served this elegant tart on Thanksgiving Eve this year. It was very well received! The classic combination of pears and almonds was absolutely delicious.
This recipe was adapted from Dolester Miles’ recipe in Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Recipes and Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill, via The Washington Post. The restaurant is located in Birmingham, Alabama. I used poaching liquid instead of rum in the filling and reduced the baking time. Wonderful!
Yield: 8 servings
For the Crust:
1 cup plus 3 T flour, plus more for the work surface
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the Pears:
3 cups granulated sugar
6 cups water
half a vanilla bean, split
one 3-inch cinnamon stick
5 (large) to 6 almost-ripe, firm pears, such as Bartlett, Anjou or Bosc, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored
For the Filling:
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 T Calvados, dark rum, or poaching liquid
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 cup blanched/slivered or sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish
To Make the Crust:
- Use cooking oil spray to grease a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Place the flour in a food processor.
- Sprinkle the salt and cubes of butter into the flour. Pulse until the butter is pea-sized.
- Pour the egg over the mixture; pulse just until the dough begins to come together.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter, and then gather it into a disk.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 1 day.
- Lightly flour a work surface. Unwrap and roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. (I roll the dough out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.)
- Transfer it to the tart pan, using your fingertips to line the pan with the dough. Trim the edges even with the rim of the pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
To Poach the Pears:
- Combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the pears; once the liquid begins to bubble at the edges, cook the pears for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are tender and the tip of a paring knife slips into them easily. Let them cool in their liquid. Discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.
To Make the Filling and Finish the Tart:
- When ready to assemble, make the filling: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Toast the almonds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally to avoid scorching. Cool completely before using for the topping.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed for several minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Reduce the speed to low; add the egg, ground almonds, flour, Calvados, rum, or poaching liquid and the almond extract. Beat for about 2 minutes, until smooth.
- Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator. Unwrap and pour in the filling, spreading it evenly.
- Remove the pears from the poaching liquid, placing them in a colander set over a bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the poaching liquid for this recipe; reserve and refrigerate the rest for poaching more fruit later.
- Place the pears cut sides down on the tart filling, side by side with the narrow ends facing in, until the entire surface of the tart is covered with pears. Cover the edge of the tart to prevent over-browning and bake (middle rack) for about 28 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, cook the reserved cup of poaching liquid in a small saucepan over high heat until it has reduced to a glaze – about 2 to 3 tablespoons total. Remove from the heat.
- Once the tart comes out of the oven, brush it with the glaze, then scatter the toasted almonds evenly over the top. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Note: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. The pears can be stored in their cooking liquid in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The poaching liquid can be reused.
Posted in Baking, Fruit Desserts, Good Sweets, Good Eats (Desserts), Holiday, Quiches & Tarts, Recipes, Thanksgiving
Tags: almond, Bartlett, Bartlett pears, calvados, cinnamon, dessert, French, pears, poached, rum, tart, Thanksgiving, vanilla bean
My entire family cannot stop eating pears this season. We are absolutely in love with them. Especially Bartletts. So, I really branched out by making these pear tarts instead of an apple pie for Thanksgiving this year in celebration of our love of pears. (As an aside, I have always had a love of tarts as well!)
This lovely tart recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Elisabeth Prueitt. I substituted 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract for the 2 tablespoons of brandy. I also made one 9-inch tart and one 10-inch tart because those are the size tart pans I own. 😉 The original recipe was for two 9-inch tarts. Because the tart sizes were different, each had a different pear pattern on top. Beautiful and delicious.
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: Makes 2 9-inch Tarts
For the Pastry:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 large egg yolk mixed with 1/4 cup ice water
For the Filling:
- 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
- 3 large eggs
- pinch of coarse salt
- 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups sliced almonds, plus more for garnish, if desired
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons brandy or 1 T vanilla extract
- 6 ripe medium Bartlett pears, peeled, quartered and cored
- Vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Pulse in the butter until it is the size of small peas.
- Sprinkle the egg mixture on top and pulse just until a dough forms.
- Scrape the pastry onto 2 sheets of plastic wrap and form into 2 disks. Wrap and refrigerate until chilled. (I let it chill overnight.)
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out each pastry disk to a 12-inch round 1/8 inch thick. Fit the pastry into two 9-inch fluted tart pans with removable bottoms. Fold the overhang onto itself. Using a sharp knife or a rolling pin, trim off any excess pastry. Chill to set while you prepare the filling.
- Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch.
- Whisk in 1 egg and the salt.
- Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then return it to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until thickened and just beginning to bubble around the edges, about 4 minutes.
- Strain the custard into a bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the butter.
- Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the remaining 12 tablespoons of butter with the sliced almonds at medium-low speed until the almonds are slightly crushed.
- Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 eggs, then beat in the custard and brandy/vanilla.
- Spoon the filling into the tarts. Place 1 pear quarter in the center of each tart; arrange the remaining quarters in a circle around it. (I made different patterns with the different size tarts, and was only able to place a pear quarter in the center of the 10-inch tart.)
- Bake the tarts in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, rotating halfway between the cooking time, or until the pears are very tender and the custard and pastry are deep golden.
- Let the tarts cool for 30 minutes, then unmold. Garnish with additional sliced almonds, if desired.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.
Note: The tarts can be stored overnight in airtight containers.
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Posted in Baking, Fruit Desserts, Good Sweets, Good Eats (Desserts), Holiday, Recipes, Thanksgiving
Tags: almond, Bartlett, Bartlett pears, cream tart, dessert, pear, pie, tart, Thanksgiving