Friday, April 01, 2005

Pear Tart

 Posted by Hello

This pear tart is one of Yurdaer's favorites. I copied the recipe years ago from a magazine. Both fillings and pastry shell can be prepared in a food processor. I used an 11-inch quiche pan instead of the 10-inch one called for in the recipe; therefore, the tart turned out to be thinner than usual, and the layers of almond paste and cream were less visible. But it was still very delicious.

Pastry Shell:

1 1/2 c unbleached flour
8 tbs unsalted chilled butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 large egg
2 tbs sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp ice water (if required)

Almond Paste:

1/2 c (1 1/2 oz) whole almonds
3/4 c sugar
4 tbs butter at room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
1 large egg
1/2 tsp almond extract (check health food stores for oil-based almond flavor)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Filling:

1/2 c heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

4 large ripe Bartlett or Bosc pears, halved, peeled and cored

For the crust, process flour, butter, egg, sugar and salt until mixture resembles coarsemeal, 10-15 seconds. Pinch; if it does not hold together, sprinkle a few drops of cold water and pulse 2-3 times to mix. Do not overprocess. Gather dough in a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12 inch-circle about 1/8-inch thick. Line a 10-inch quiche pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes before filling.

Meanwhile, you can prepare the almond paste, pears and the cream filling: For almond cream, process almonds and sugar until finely ground. Add butter and pulse 4-5 times. Add remaining ingredients and process 15 seconds to blend. For cream filling, process cream, egg yolk sugar and vanilla extract for 10 seconds.

Before assembly of tart, preheat the oven to 350F. Spread almond paste over bottom of pastry shell and arrange pears attractively, flat side down on almond paste. Pour cream filling carefully over pears. Bake for 1 hour or until filling is set and browned. Cool in pan over wire rack. You can glaze the tart with a little diluted apricot jam if you want. Equally delicious served warm or at room temperature.

 Posted by Hello