Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m sure you’re all looking for the perfect dessert recipe. Growing up in Japan in a 100% Japanese family, we never celebrated Thanksgiving. Well that totally makes sense right? I mean Thanksgiving is a distinctly unique American holiday where you contemplate about all the things you’re thankful for and you eat a lot. Okay, we really know it’s a lot more than that, but I’m no American History expert and let’s face it, you’re probably here for the food more so than a history lesson. When I had my first Thanksgiving, I believe I was in either first or second grade. It was delicious. I remember lots of food and of course pumpkin pie. My older sister was obsessed with it after that. She loved pumpkin pie and I guess being a younger sibling who always looked up to her older sibling, I fell in love with pumpkin pie too. Today, not so much…I’ve found love with pecan pie…wait, sorry, I’m getting way off topic. This is a post about pear tarts. Tarts, I find, are very simple and please a lot of people. This pear tart is no different. In fact, when I brought it to a going away party for a co-worker it was eaten within 20 minutes and my other co-workers were asking for more. I felt bad only bringing one tart. And this was with 7 people. Okay so I guess 7 is a lot, but the fact that they were asking for more and even hinting that there were pears and baking ingredients as well as a functional oven shows how delicious this tart is. Trust me, unless they’re complete traditionalist, I don’t think people would mind too terribly if you made a pear tart instead of a pumpkin pie.
So let’s get baking!
Ingredients:Pate Sucrée -1 3/4 cups all purpose flour -8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces -2 tbsp plus 2 tsp chilled shortening* -1/4 cup sugar -2 egg yolks -1/4 teaspoon water -4 drops vanilla Filling -1/3 cup granulated sugar -2 tbsp all purpose flour -1 egg -1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter -2 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and quartered lengthwise -Powdered sugar (garnish) -Apricot jam * You can replace the shortening for butter, I just find that using a mix of butter and shortening creates a flakier crust.
- Combine flour, butter, shortening, and sugar in medium mixing bowl until the butter and shortening is about the size of small peas. Add yolks, water and vanilla and continue mixing until dough is crumbly. Turn dough out onto work surface and gather into ball. Divide the dough into two parts. Flatten each part into a disc*. Wrap tightly in plastic. Freeze 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
- While the dough chills, make the filling. Beat together the sugar, flour and eggs in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a skillet until foamy and golden brown or melt in the microwave for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the melted butter into the sugar mixture** and set aside.
- Roll out one disc of dough on a lightly floured surface and transfer the dough into a tart pan. Carefully press the dough into the pan, removing excess dough. Use the excess dough to patch and cracks. Place the tart pan in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF . Peel and core the pears. Cut the pears crosswise into thin slices. Gently open the slices into a fan shape and arrange them in the crust in a flower pattern. Pour the melted butter mixture over the pears and bake for an hour, or until the crust and filling are brown.
- Once the tart is out of the pan, warm some apricot jam and gently brush the top of the tart with it. Additionally, you can skip the jam and dust the edges with powdered sugar or do both. Either way these tart is delicious.
- Serve at room temperature with freshly whipped cream, ice cream and any other delicious pie toppings.
*I used a 8 inch tart pan with a removable bottom and I found that half the dough is more than enough. If using an 11 inch tart pan, use both discs of dough. Additionally, you will need to double the filling for a bigger tart pan. You can use the other disc of dough for other tarts or for mini pecan pies, which I will post soon.
**Slowly adding the hot butter to the room temperature sugar mixture tempers the filling, ensuring that the eggs don’t get scrambled/cooked in the process.
This tart takes a while, about 2 hours from start to finish, but a majority of it is waiting. I think it’s definitely worth it. Everyone will love you for it! For friendsgiving, I substituted the pears with some apples. To be honest, the apple tart was devoured faster than the pumpkin pie that I had also brought, so I think it’s safe to say that it’s a good choice of dessert if pumpkin pie isn’t really your thing. I really love this pate sucrée crust and have used the leftovers to make mini pecan pies, which were delicious. I promise promise promise to post a recipe for them soon! Additionally, I think the crust would be beautiful paired with a chocolate cream filling or even a plain custard filling topped with raspberries. The thing I love is that you don’t have to crimp it to make it beautiful. Straight clean lines are just as appealing!
Until then! Hugs and puppies!