This tart was part of my thanksgiving dinner plan, in fact, this tart was the conclusion of the thanksgiving dinner, so it had to be good! and tons of planning went into it, but plans, usually mine, don’t always go as expected. I should have prepped the tart a couple of days in advance, thrown it in the freezer and then should have baked it at the right time just about on hour before dessert time. I only managed to get the short pie crust ready but I run out of time, everyone is hungry now, you can feel the stress rising, the looks….oh, the looks… decision made, no tart for anyone! maybe next year.. maybe…anyways, the beautiful bosc pears I bought continued to ripen in a bowl over the fridge, slowly and beautifully as most ripening processes usually go.
I’m actually glad I “waited” until after thanksgiving day. The pears became extremely juicy and sweet yet able to hold their shape. Got perfect pears now, got pie crust ready. There is no escape, a pear tart has to be made (a totally accidental rhyme, do not judge). And here is how:
2 ripe bosc pears
1/3 C sugar
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 lemon (just the juice)
200g AP flour or cake flour
100g unsalted butter, 1 stick (in the US at least)
100g granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg beaten
For the pie crust please click here. Start your oven at 390F, and preheat for about an hour.
For the pears. Slice them in half lengthwise. Core them. I use a spoon. The fiber that runs along the length of it could be removed if it’s too tough, up to you. If you’re feeling fancy, remove. Finely dice crosswise. About 1/8 of an inch. They need to be cut thinly because we want them to not only cook but also develop some color, and that can only happen if they release enough water (dry up) so the sugar concentration is adequate and the temperature hot enough so that caramelization can happen. Slice the fat part of the pear and eat the thinner part as you cut them, seriously, they’re so good, and this is worth doing, rather than having to deal with so much variation in the size of the slices which will be a pain in the ass when it comes to laying out the slices over the tart. Place the slices in a bowl with the juice of one lemon in it. Toss gently with your hands. Let stand for a few minutes. Interlace the slices over the pie crust, anyway you like. Dust cinnamon over the pears. Make sure that when you dust, you dust from a distance of at least one foot. This will give the cinnamon enough chance to disperse in the air and cover the pears more uniformly. This is a good tip for salting food too. Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Place sugar and butter in it. Melt and cook until a nice caramel forms, takes about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it. Caramel goes from brown to black-hole-dark really fast. Remove from the stove, and drizzle over the pears in a fine stream. If you have too much caramel, don’t use it all. Drizzle the pears as you would a salad when using olive oil. Place tart in the oven and bake for about one hour, or until it looks beautiful. That’s usually a better indicator than a timer. Timers can help destroy food. I like to trust the senses. When the house smells like a french pastry shop, I go take a look, it’s usually ready. I adjust oven temperature along the way as well. I don’t believe an oven is this magic box that will cook something perfectly just because time and temperature were set in advanced. Weather, humidity, altitude, the oven’s temperament and that of the ingredients will determine time and temperature instead. I had to bake this tart an extra 10 minutes at 230F just to get the tart a little more dehydrated, just seemed like it needed it. Oh, and notice I didn’t peel the pears, right?… no need. It gives the tart a more striking look in my opinion, and these pears’ skin melts in the mouth anyways. All good!
Post-thanksgiving-simple-pear-tart accomplished. Now, moving on to the next thing. Still thinking about a seafood themed Christmas dinner, which is really exciting and very different from what I’m used to. Have you tried filleting a trout? totally random question.. but here’s the answer… HARD!!! Looks so easy on youtube. I will keep practicing I guess. It’s a delicious and relatively inexpensive fish perfect for training knife skills before butchering more expensive ones. Ok, I’m spent. Until the next time! Be safe! eat well, travel more if possible! Cheers!