Wednesday, July 28, 2010

French Pear Tart

I spent this past Shabbat in one of my favorite areas, Jerusalem's Katamon neighborhood. I spent it with my friend A, who is getting married in less than a month. This was probably the last weekend spent with her individually before she's married, so I was really looking forward to it. It was really nice to get to spend Shabbat with her and some of our friends, I cant wait for the wedding! Anyway, as A was organizing lunch, she asked me to bring over challot and dessert. Challot were no big deal as I had three frozen already braided unbaked ones in the freezer, which while I was worried about how they would turn out, were a complete success! As for dessert, A had requested chocolate cookies but I was totally not into that idea. I again wanted to take advantage of the season and put together something light and fruity. And that is exactly what I did. I gave A three fruity choices of desserts and this is the one she chose. This is one of the recipes that I have long bookmarked from Dorie's Baking; there could not have been a better opportunity to make it. There are three components, all simple to put together- the crust, the pears and the almond cream. The crust pastry I prepared the night before and although pears are in season here in Israel, I took the shortcut of using canned. No one was the wiser. The almond cream came together in a couple of minutes with the help of the KA, and voila! The delicate French tart was assembled. And it is quite the looker. I brought the tart over and all of the guests were impressed with how it looked- it is definitely true that we eat with our eyes first. Happily, they enjoyed the tart itself, remarking on its simplicity and deliciousness while not being too sweet. A really enjoyed it as well, helping herself to small slices over the rest of the day. Success! And just in time for my two year blogoversary, which happens to be tomorrow! Here's to many more posts!

French Pear Tart
from Dorie's Baking

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tbsp frozen butter or margarine
1 large egg

6 canned pear halves, patted dry

Almond Cream:
6 tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup ground blanched almonds
2 tsp flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

To make the crust, place the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to blend. Add the fat and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add the egg and pulse until the dough looks clumpy. Remove from the bowl and gently knead it on your work surface to incorporate any dry particles. Alternatively, you can do this by hand.
Press the tart dough into a nine inch pan. I refrigerated overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 375 to partially bake the crust. Press a sheet of tin foil onto the crust. Bake for twenty five minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
Here is my almond cream. To make it, place the margarine and sugar in a bowl and cream. Add the almonds, flour and cornstarch and blend. Add the egg and vanilla and combine.
Spread the almond cream into the tart shell. Prepare the pears. Take five pear halves and place them on a cutting board. Using a knife, slice them cross wise. Using a spatula, transfer them from the cutting board to the tart shell, arranging them in a flower pattern. Press down slightly on the pears.
Pretty, no? Bake the tart for fifty minutes to an hour, or less depending on your oven, or until the almond cream is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before storing.

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