Dorie Greenspan picked this week's TWD recipe. For those of you who don't know; Dorie wrote the book Baking: From my home to yours and has written several other great cookbooks both on her own and with the likes of Pierre Hermé and Julia Child.
The recipe for the French pear tart was very simple. Dorie actually okayed using canned pears (gasp!) in this recipe. I chose the alternate option which was poaching pears. No offense to the canned pear industry, but as a pastry chef I prefer to poach my own. My Bartlett pears took about 25 minutes to poach.
For the base I made the sweet tart dough with pistachios. I decided to cut back on a tablespoon of butter because I thought the fat in the pistachios would make up for it. The rusting dough was a little crumbly. it wasn’t too difficult to deal with though because I have a lot of experience putting nut doughs in tart shells from my time at Bouchon. I simply took the dough and pressed it into the pan.
My time was limited, so I didn’t freeze the dough as Dorie suggests. Luckily it didn’t shrink while it was blind baking, and it came out lovely.
I bought a food processor for myself as a Christmas gift in December, and I’m so happy I did. Making the almond cream was so easy (as was the tart dough). Instead of grinding my own almonds, I used the almond meal you can buy at Trader Joe’s. It’s a nice time saver, and it has worked well in everything I’ve used it in so far.
The tart was easy to assemble. My pears were a bit on the huge size, so I had to use less of them. Even cutting back on the amount of pear, their width was so big I had to squeeze them in into the tart shell.
Luckily, after baking the tight fit wasn’t noticeable. The almond cream neatly puffed up around the pears.
This tart is certainly a crowd pleaser. It looks beautiful, and many people love the almond cream/pear combination. It’s très French. Joe loved this tart, however I found it to be way too sweet for my liking. While eating it, I realized I would like it much more if I had a strong cup of tea to counteract the sweetness. Since Joe liked this tart so much, I’m sure I’ll be making it again. Next time, I’ll be sure to try my piece earlier in the day with a strong cup of black tea.