Tuesdays with Dorie: French Pear TartJanuary 4, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Posted in groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 59 Comments
Guess what — this is my 50th Tuesdays with Dorie post!! Seems quite appropriate that my TWD golden anniversary be celebrated with a golden dessert, chosen by none other than Dorie Greenspan herself. Dorie has picked a French Pear Tart for the group to bake this week.
This tart is a classic French dessert. It has three main components: pears, almond cream (frangipane) and a sweet tart dough (pâte sablée). Dorie says that it is most acceptable to make this tart using canned pears, but here I used fresh ones, poached in a sugar syrup until deliciously soft and sweet. Regular pie dough is flaky, but sablée is like a sweet crisp, butter cookie. (Incidentally, we make a type of sweet tart dough at the bakery where I work. It is affectionately referred to as “STD”…we are a classy bunch.) When the almond cream bakes, it puffs up around the pear, becoming almost cake-like.
If you make this and poach your pears, too, please don’t throw out the poaching liquid! I’ve learned from working in restaurants that there are a million uses for poaching liquid. It can be made into a granita or turned into sorbet base. It can be reduced to a thicker syrup, and used in cocktails, over ice cream or to decorate a plate (like I did here). Or it can simply be used to poach more pears. You can also add things to the liquid to give additional flavor, like wine, vanilla bean or whole spices.
I made individual tarts, which I assembled and baked off as needed, since I figured a big one would go soggy before we could get through it. Rather than fanning out cut slices of pear, I just used one of its “cheeks” in each tartlette. Doesn’t it look a little like a fried egg when viewed from above? I served the baked tartlettes with a vanilla goat’s milk ice cream from Laloo’s.
For the recipe for this delicious tart, look on Dorie’s blog or in her book, Baking: From My Home to Yours (she also has a version of it here on Epicurious). Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll.
So, fifty recipes from BFMHTY…what are my favorites so far? Honestly, they’ve almost all been winners, but I regularly daydream about Bill’s Big Carrot Cake and Almost-Fudge Gâteau. What do I hope someone will pick soon? Every month I keep my fingers crossed that Oatmeal Breakfast Bread, Coconut Tea Cake or any of the Bundts will be on our list.