I admit a bias to all things French, and have enjoyed pear tarts many times in Paris. The combination of buttery crust, frangipane filling and the buttery taste of the pears is a wonderful combination. I was thrilled when this pick was announced, not just because Dorie picked it, but because it's been two years since our last trip to France and a girl just needs her tarts, ya know?
The recipe gave the option of using canned pears, poaching pears or using fresh, ripe pears. I had an amazingly busy weekend, so I went the lazy route. Dorie explains in the recipe that French bakeries use canned pears, which made me feel better. The tart shell came together easily in the food processor, and I divided it between six 4" tart shells. In hindsight, I think it would have been better to make four or five of them as the crust was a little bit thinner than I like. I popped them in the freezer for the requisite half hour before blind baking them and made the almond cream filling. Since I was well established on the lazy route, I used ground almonds rather than making my own. The ground almonds gave the filling a rustic look that I really like.
The next morning, I let the almond cream sit out until it was spreadable, sliced the pears, assembled the tarts and baked them off. They baked for 42 minutes in a 325 oven on the convection bake cycle. The filling puffs up and browns as it bakes. Mmm...fresh pear tarts... OK, I admit it, I had half of one of these for breakfast. But they looked and smelled so good...I know you all understand.
The verdict: this is my favorite Dorie recipe to date (and the cheesecake was hard to beat!) The crust is so buttery, the filling crunchy and chewy at the same time, and the pears are the little jewels of sweetness that crown these two tasty components. Unlike most desserts, every bite is better than the one before.
Check out what the other TWD bakers did here. They inspire me every week. You can find the recipe on Dorie's site. An extra special treat is here--Dorie answering all our random questions from the last year. Thanks to Dorie for the book that inspires us all, and thanks to Laurie for starting (and all the work to maintain) this group. This tart's for you!