Tag Archives: pear tart

Pear Plus Pear Tart

Tart filled with pears with pear liqueur glaze

I recently wrote a post about my new Cuisinart, which I broke in this weekend making the crust for a pear tart to bring to a holiday party. As usual, I combined a couple of recipes and then tinkered with the combination to come up with a delicious tart using a fruit that is easy to obtain in at this time of year. IMHO, the flavor combination of pears and almond makes winter dessert magic.

Pear Plus Pear Tart


One pâte brisée, baked as directed in an 11-inch fluted tart shell (I used the recipe from page 724 of my vintage Gourmet Cookbook, Volume I)


1/3 cup almond paste (half of an Odense brand package)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 tablespoon of flour
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 large Bosc pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced into about 1/4-inch slices
lemon juice

Pear Glaze

1/4 cup pear jam (apricot jam would work well too)
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon dried lemon peel
3 tablespoons pear liqueur (I used Pere William)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  Arrange the pear slices on the tart shell in a spiral pattern, overlapping slightly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the pears have a bit of color and the edges of the tart shell are golden brown.

2.  Meanwhile, beat together the almond paste and sugar, trying to break the almond paste apart. (It does not need to be smooth; small lumps will dissolve while baking.)  Beat in the butter. In a separate bowl, mix egg, flour, salt and almond extract and beat until light. Combine almost paste mixture and egg-flour mixture. Spread this mixture over the bottom of the tart shell. It might not seem like enough, but it expands slightly while baking.

3. While the tart is baking, combine the jam, lemon peel, almond  extract liqueur in a small sauce pan and warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes until it is reduced and thickened. Remove from heat and set aside until tart is out of the oven. Brush the glaze over the pears, and cool the tart on a wire rack. Serve plain or with ice cream, frozen yogurt or gelato (vanilla or your choice of flavors).

Serves 8 — or more as part of a buffet.

Pear Crostata: Fine Late Fall Dessert

Free-form Italian dessert suitable for late fall or early winter eatingYesterday was baking and eating day. First, there were cookies to bake for the 10th annual Mapleton Hill Cookie Exchange in the early afternoon. I made Viennese vanilla crescents, my perennial favorite — one that I’ve never done as well as my Austrian grandmother. Each of 80 neighborhood women brought cookies (mostly home-baked) that were then divided into the kind of carton that hotels use for box lunches. Then there was neighbors Vivian and Jim’s annual evening open house. When I asked whether I could bring something, Vivian replied, “How about a dessert?”

In the morning, I baked cookies and prepared the dough for the pear crostata I planned to bring in the evening. The dough rested in the refrigerator until I returned from the cookie exchange. I took it out while I made the filling, “cheating” by using caramel ice cream topping from a jar, which I adapted from an online apple crostata recipe. With all the baking and other chores yesterday, I didn’t manage to take any pictures.

The image below is actually a peach crostata from Rakestraw Books, an independent bookstore (my favorite kind) in Danville, California. Peaches are out of season, but Bosc pears from the Pacific Northwest are in season now. My pear version looked quite similar, but as usual, I cobbled together several recipes. What I ended up making is in the recipe below the picture.

A ‘crostata’ is an open-face Italian “pie” that traditionally is made with a sweet pastry crust large enough to fold over the filling. Some Americans make a lattice-top pie and call it a crostata, perhaps to make it sound exotic.

Pear Crostata

Pasta Frolla (Italian Sweet Pastry Dough)
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1  1/2 tsp. salt
1/2  tsp. +/- grated lemon zest*
1 lightly beaten egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine flour, sugar, butter and salt, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add lemon zest, egg and vanilla, and continue processing until dough forms a ball and rides around on the blade. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least one hour. While oven is preheating, let dough soften again at room temperature.

*I used McCormick’s Lemon Peel from a jar, because I didn’t have a fresh lemon in the house. Otherwise, I would have grated the rind of one lemon.)

Pear Filling
4 Bosc pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping*
1 tsp. cinnamon

*I used Smuckers caramel flavored ice cream topping; it I had the time, I would have made my own from a recipe like this.

Mix all filling ingredients and set aside

Dough for crust
3 Tbsp. sweet butter
Water or water/egg white wash
1 to 1 tsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a floured board or marble slab, roll out dough into a large circle. Two options: Make the circle large enough to fit your pie plate plus 1 to 2 additional inches, or place large round on a Silpat map in a jellyroll pan or on a cookie sheet. The edges of the dough do not need to be even. (I used a pie plate). Pile filling into the center of the dough and fold the dough over the filling as far is it goes, crimping, pleating or pinching as necessary. Dot filling with butter. Brush dough with water or wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until crust begins to brown. Serve warm if possible, with whipped cream, ice cream or frozen yogurt if you wish.