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Mid Fall, and after I’ve had way too much ‘pumpkin everything,’ I turn to pears, my next favorite autumn fruit, and bake a brilliant Pear Tart with Shortbread Crust.
Mid Fall, and after I’ve had way too much ‘pumpkin everything,’ I turn to pears, my next favorite autumn fruit, and bake a brilliant Pear Tart with Shortbread Crust. This delightful, warming dessert is quick to make and a pleasure to eat. Wonderfully subtle, Pear Tart with Shortbread Crust is a perfect end to heavier seasonal meals and is especially lovely for easy entertaining.
Almond Frangipane is delightfully delicate and spongy and is the perfect balance to pears.
I’m partial to pears. I love their floral, honey-like sweetness. I find I eat them rather plainly with only some Roquefort or prosciutto. But I also love French desserts. There’s something about a French galette or tart that is elegant and sophisticated. This Pear Tart with Shortbread Crust is all of that; sweet and honey-like, elegant and sophisticated, but it’s also very easy. I am disappointed that for so many years I shied away from trying methods and recipes such as this because I assumed they might be difficult. I could not have been more wrong.
The almond Frangipane is delightfully delicate and spongy and is the perfect balance to pears. The foundation of this dessert is appropriate year-round, where it would suit apples, nectarines or peaches. Let your local farm market or fresh grocer guide you, as in-season fruit will always taste the best.
The best pears for baking are Bosc and Anjou.
There are certain staple recipes every home baker should have in their repertoire. Undoubtedly, a pear tart must be included in this list. As I before noted, while this may look intimidating, a Pear Tart with Shortbread Crust is quite simple. A couple of trusty basic pieces of equipment are necessary to make the job easier, so be prepared with both a 9-inch tart pan, as well as a food processor.
Once the buttery shortbread crust is pressed, thinly sliced pears are smartly laid out over the layer of frangipane, an otherwise fancy name for almond filling. The best pears for baking are Bosc and Anjou. They are firm enough to keep their shape and texture throughout the 35-minute bake. Make sure that pears selected for the tart are not too ripe. They should be quite hard rather than soft. The entire ensemble is then brushed with a bit of apricot jam glaze. Charmonte.
Ingredients for A Pear Tart With Shortbread Crust
Ingredients for the Tart Crust
1 cup ground all butter shortbread cookies * we are using Walker’s
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Ingredients for the Tart Frangipane
1/3 cup almond paste, not marzipan *we are using Solo
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon of flour
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
1 large Bosc or Anjou pear, peeled and cored and thinly sliced about 1/4 “ thick
Ingredients for the Tart Glaze
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-inch peel of lemon
2 tablespoons Reisling
Prepare the tart crust by processing the shortbread cookies in the food processor until very fine. Add to the processor the butter. Pulse until evenly moistened.
Spoon some of the crumb mixture in the tart pan. Using the straight side of a measure cup, press the crumbs up the sides of the tart pan being sure to tightly press into the grooves to 1/4” thick. Using the bottom of the measure cup, press the remaining crumbs into the bottom of the tart pan.
Carefully place tart crust into the refrigerator to chill while preparing the Frangipane.
For the Frangipane, in the drum of the food processor, process together the almond paste and sugar to break it apart. Add in the butter. Mix in the egg, flour, salt, and almond extract and process until light and fluffy. There will be very little filling initially, as the frangipane will give rise during baking, filling in the gaps between the pear slices.
Peel and core the pear, and then slice thinly, about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Places the slices in a bowl with the lemon juice to help preserve their color.
Spread the frangipane over the bottom of the tart crust using a rubber spatula and an extra light hand. Next, carefully arrange the pear slices in a decorative pattern. They can slightly overlap, but don't build them up in layers or the tart will lack a refined appearance after the bake.
Bake at 375°F for 30-35 minutes or until the pears take on a bit of color and the edges of the tart shell are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
While the tart bakes, place the apricot jam, lemon peel, vanilla extract, and Riesling into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, constantly stirring. Once the mixture has reduced and thickened, take it off the heat and set it aside.
Once the tart is out of the oven brush the apricot glaze over the pears. Serve.