Oh, YUM. This week’s TWD recipe, a Pear Almond Tart, was chosen by Dorie herself, so I was already planning on saying nice things about it, even if I didn’t like it. Fortunately, the tart was fabulous, so I don’t even have to lie. Bonus!
This particular tart is pretty common in bakeries–I’ve made a version of this at most of my bakery jobs in the past. A sweet tart shell is filled with almond cream, topped with sliced poached (or canned) pears, and baked until set. Although canned pears are an option in the recipe, I couldn’t bear to use them. I actually got as far as opening the can, but they were just so…shrimpy and pathetic. Like, half the size of normal pear halves! No tart of mine can have limp, stunted pears!
Instead, I poached some fresh pears in a simple syrup, flavored with big chunks of orange. I actually did two batches, and to the second batch, I added big handfuls of blackberries, to give the pears a gorgeous red color. All the extra fruit in the simmering syrup also helped to give the pears a fruitier aroma, which was awesome because my supermarket pears were a little low in the flavor department.
I admit to being initially baffled by the pear slicing-and-arranging instructions. Fortunately the internet schooled me, and I think this is how it’s supposed to look. Before reading the tips from other folks, I was planning on slicing the pears and fanning them out over the entire top of the tart, which would have looked okay too. But I do like the look of this design.
The tart was pretty easy to throw together, although it wasn’t exactly fast. Between making the dough and almond cream, the dough chilling, then pre-baking, and the poaching of the pears (which took me more like 50 minutes, as opposed to 15) it was definitely a multi-hour project, although the actual work time was probably under an hour.
So how was it? Well, let me put it this way: see that tart slice below? The one that’s about 1/5th of the entire 9-inch tart? I ate the whole thing in one go. Standing up. With my bare hands. Right after I took these photos, which I rushed through at the end because I really wanted to taste it. So, yeah. It was okay.
Actually, it was fantastic! The almond flavor in the crust and the cream (helped by a touch of almond extract) was perfectly paired with the light pear (and hint of citrus) flavor of the fruit. The supple fruit, soft cream, crispy crust…yes. Perfection indeed. This is also a good example of a dessert I probably wouldn’t have chosen to make myself (because I am so predictably chocolate-focused) but that I enjoyed immensely. So props to Dorie for choosing a great recipe, and double props for writing a great recipe!