This tart is flavor-packed and will win over even those who don’t like pears. It is both mild and bursting with flavor at the same time and makes a great ending for a heavier meal.
You can use canned pears for the recipe, but it really is worth the time to poach the pears. Even lackluster, not-quite-ripe fruit transforms to a creamy and flavorful addition.
PEAR & ALMOND TART
6 pear halves, canned or poached
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup ground blanched almonds
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 partially-baked 9-inch tart shell, made with Sweet Tart Dough (see below), at room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Pear syrup for glazing
To make the almond cream:
Process the butter and sugar in a food processor until very smooth. Add the almonds and process again. Add the flour and cornstarch, process briefly, then add the egg and process until well blended. Blend in vanilla just till combined. Use or refrigerate for several days.
To make the tart:
Preheat oven to 350F.
In the prebaked crust, spread the almond cream (if refrigerated, allow to warm and stir so it will spread more easily). Pat the pears dry and slice across the width. List with a spatula and gently fan on top of the almond cream in a spoke-like pattern.
Place on a baking sheet and bake the tart 50 to 60 minutes, or until the almond cream puffs up around the pears and browns. Transfer the tart to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature before unmolding. After 10 minutes, brush pear juice onto pears to make them glisten.
Right before serving, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar. Eat within 2 days – best the same day it’s made.
SWEET TART DOUGH
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 Tbsp very cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the workbowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely – you’ll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses – about 10 seconds each – until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly – make that very, very lightly and sparingly – knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.\
Butter a 9″ tart pan and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don’t be too heavy-handed – you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don’t want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbreadish texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil tightly against the crust. Bake the crust 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack; keep it in its pan.
Recipe from Dorie Greenspan