Tuesday, January 6, 2009

TWD - French Pear Tart



Today's Tuesdays with Dorie selection is a very special one indeed. It was chosen by Dorie Greenspan, whose book Baking From My Home to Yours started our fearless founder Laurie on the path to this wonderful group of bakers.

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!

29 comments:

Karen said...

Oooh! Yours looks so good. I can't wait to try it.

Danielle said...

I love the use of the mini tart pans! They look very cute.
This was one of the best recipes I think I have made so far!

Cathy said...

I also felt much better opening that can of pears when I thought about all of the master pastry chefs in Paris who had done it before me! I thought this was great with canned pears, although I would like to poach my own next time. Your mini tart looks gorgeous -- perfectly golden, perfectly puffed! The perfect breakfast!

Amanda said...

It was really yummy! I agree, one of my tops too. I just wish I had pulled it out of the oven a bit earlier... a tad too dark on the crust, although it made it nutty and a bit yummy-chewy.

April said...

Very nice tarts! I love the little tarts. There's just something so sweet about smaller desserts.

pinkstripes said...

This was a super-duper recipe. We loved it.

spike. said...

These would be so good for breakfast. They do have fruit!

jillbert said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who used canned pears! Your minis look wonderful!

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I'll do mine as individuals next time too - yours look fantastic!

Jessica said...

These are a perfect French sweet fix, aren't they? Oooh, and half of one for breakfast sounds so good, I'm jealous!

Gabe's Girl said...

I think this was one of my favorites as well. I ate a slice and a half for breakfast. Then, I had one for a snack! uuuggghhh. Tomorrow, I am giving the rest out to my neighbors. The slices are already packed up and ready to go!

Alwayzbakin said...

I loved that you used mini tart pans. So cute! I bet they were delicious. I also loved this recipe.

Babette said...

Oh, yum. I'm another one loving the minis, although I didn't use them...next time.

chocolatechic said...

So beautiful.


I loved the almond cream.

Jess said...

They look beautiful! I like rustic look of the ground almonds. We loved the tart too.

Cooking for Comfort by Jennifer said...

You did a beautiful job...I think your mini tarts are adorable!

Pamela said...

The minis were a great way to go. So many people have said that this was their favorite recipe yet. I guess I'll be making them sooner than I thought!

LyB said...

Half of one for breakfast? Well, cute lookin' little tart like that, I'd have had the whole thing! :)

Jacque said...

This was a seriously good dessert, I agree. If France is plentiful with pear tarts, then I think I need to start my "trip to France" fund.

Yours looks terrific. I like the idea of the mini tarts.

Carmen Cooks said...

I love your mini tarts - super cute, and I think it's special when each person gets their own whole dessert. :)

AmyRuth said...

Leslie, I like all your individual tart pans. Fun to have your own personal tart. I think if a can is good enough for a French pastry chef, is good enough for American chef extraordinare. Glad you enjoyed and I think they are pretty easy to make too. Great bang for the effort. Yea!
AmyRuth

Di said...

Hey, nothing wrong with tart for breakfast. =) I need to remember that I have mini tart pans...

CB said...

I adore your minis! I only got 4 minis but maybe my 4inch tart pans have more depth? ::scratching head:: I totally agree that it's hard to choose a favorite betwen this and the cheesecake. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Clara@ iheartfood4thought

Cakelaw said...

Your tart looks wonderful - and it was so fun to bake with Dorie this week.

happytummy said...

wow, i love how you made them mini. the single sliced pear in the middle of each tart looks so classic. wasn't it delicious? i think this one's going to be hard to beat...but then again, each week, i'm pleasantly surprised :)great job!

Christine said...

I love the mini tart pans! Your tart looks delicious!

margot said...

This recipe was perfect for minis, I'm impressed with how many you got. Your new kitchen looks great!

Jaime said...

wow, your favorite? that's saying a lot :) i see you figured out how to slice the pears the correct way, unlike me ;)

Lynnylu said...

Great looking mini tarts. I really enjoyed making these pear tarts-my favorite, I think. Thanks for commenting on my blog.