I went on Pinterest and searched a most common search ” DIY Autumn decorations”. After a 10 second scroll, my eyes glazed over, heart rate dropped, and I mumbled to myself something like this, “maybe I’ll read some prayer books or something instead…or maybe take a nap or something…I can’t do this…”
It may be the season for pumpkin spice to be flung everywhere like it’s glitter, make it rain, and for cinnamon chai tea bags to be woven perfectly into something resembling a wreath and hung at the front door, but it’s also time for pear and almond tarts, something noninvasive for someone who hasn’t yet turned into a PSL or dirtied their fingers in “easy diy” fall crafts. It’s baking season, aka, my cup of (chai) tea.
I made this: a simple, slightly sweet tart, with seasonal pears, a mildly leavened crust, and subtle almond filling. Serve it with creme fraiche or what I did; with whipped cream folded with equal parts plain greek yogurt and a bit of powered sugar for a wisp of creamy sweet tartness for the tart. I can’t do crafts but I can bake a piece of art, tart art.
Now I don’t really appreciate recipes that call for specialized pots, pans, utensils, motorized equipment and so on. Unfortunately, this recipe is one of them. It calls for a tart pan with a removable bottom, ugh. Before you leave, let me give you a spiel about owning a tart pan:
I’m sure you own a pie dish. Great. Pies are good. Tarts are easier. They use less filling. They have pretty crimped edges. The slices are more manageable. They are cleaner to cut. The word tart is beautiful. A 5 star rated tart pan on amazon is a whopping $9. I have that one. And it takes up like no space in the kitchen. Tart. Tart. Just say it out loud. Tart.
Pear and almond tart
Adapted somewhat from epicurious.com
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
2 tbls sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
5 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole dry roasted almonds
3 tbls powdered sugar
1/4 tsp almond or vanilla extract
1 large egg white
2 tbls melted butter
3 ripe medium sized pears of any variety, skins on, core removed and thinly sliced
A couple pinches of nutmeg and a few pinches or cinnamon
2 tbls sugar
1 tbls butter
Make the pastry crust: In a medium bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add butter, crumbling it into the flour mixture with fingers until it resembles pea sized pieces. Add buttermilk and almond extract; with a wooden spoon mix just until dough comes together. Press the dough into a disk. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a blender, pulse together all the filling ingredients except butter. The almonds should break up but it’s okay if there are some larger almond pieces. Texture is good. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and stir in melted butter. Set aside.
Preheat oven 400 degrees.
Now it’s time to roll out the pastry dough! You can roll it out in between two sheets of parchment paper or on a heavily floured surface with a rolling pin until it is 12 inches in diameter then remove the top parchment sheet and invert the dough carefully into the tart pan. Or if you rolled it out on the countertop, lift it gently into the tart pan. Remove excess dough from the edges. If there are any holes or tears in the crust, use the excess dough to patch it up #mylife.
Carefully spread the almond filling over the crust. There is not much filling so be patient to get it spread evenly. Now arrange sliced pears concentrically from the center. You may layer them on top of each other. Sprinkle the pears with sugar and nutmeg and cinnamon and break the butter into small pieces and dollop those on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden a pears are very soft. Let cool completely. Remove the tart pan bottom from the pan sides to slice the tart. Serve room temp or cold sliced into normal sized wedges with sweetened creme fraiche or with the aforementioned equal parts whipped cream and plain greek yogurt and powered sugar. Enjoy.