Rustic Pear Tart

October 12, 2010

Baking with homegrown pears

My friend Ann gave me a bag of pears from the tree in her yard.  I’m so thankful to her for sharing the bounty.  I used the last of the pears in this recipe for a rustic pear tart, which I found in The Best Places Northwest Desserts Cookbook by Cynthia C. Nims.  The recipe was contributed to the cookbook by Hudson’s Bar and Grill in Vancouver, Washington.

The tart crust was quite different from my normal Betty Crocker pie crust.  It called for two egg yolks.  Since I hate to waste food, I used the two egg whites and the leftover egg from brushing the tart in an omelette for my lunch.  Also, I substituted pecans for the hazelnuts because that was what I had on hand.  My daughter commented that the nuts were a great addition to this dessert.

Rustic Pear Tart with Hazelnuts

Tart Dough:
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
1/4 c cold water
2 egg yolks

Filling:
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 medium ripe pears (about 1-1/2 lbs), skins on, cored and diced
1/4 c plus 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 Tbsp cold water
1/4 c chopped toasted hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

For the dough, process flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and egg yolks and add this to the dry mixture, stirring just until the dough comes together.  Form the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling it out.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a circle about 14 inches across.  Transfer the circle to the baking sheet and chill while preparing the filling.

Preparing the pear filling in a skillet

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the pears, 1/4 c brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.  Saute the mixture until the brown sugar is melted and the ingredients are well blended, about 2 r 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  When the filling has cooled to room temperature, spoon it into the center of the prepared dough tart, leaving a 3-inch border.  Fold the dough up over the filling, pleating gently as you go; you should see the center of the filling.  Lightly beat the egg with the cold water and brush the tart with the mixture.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar and the hazelnuts over the tart.  Bake until the pears are tender and the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ready to go into the oven

Pear tart, a delicious seasonal dessert