This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by none other than Dorie herself! This week marks the one year anniversary of our group, as we bake our way through Baking: From my home to yours. I can't believe that last year when I joined, the group was just three other bakers. One year later, we are now over three hundred members strong.
In honor of this milestone, Laurie (our founder) asked Dorie to choose the recipe of the week, and she picked the French Pear Tart. I love fruit tarts, so I was thrilled to see this one chosen. Unlike most fruit tarts, filled with pastry cream, Dorie's French Pear Tart is filled with an almond cream.
The tart has three basic components: the actual tart (Dorie's sweet tart dough recipe), the almond cream, and the pears. We've made Dorie's sweet tart dough before, so I knew I wouldn't have any problems with it. The almond cream was easier to make than I thought it would be. I made my own almond meal since I was taking the easy way out with the pears and using canned pears instead of poaching my own.
The only major problem I had with this recipe was in understanding what Dorie meant by "thinly slice each pear half crosswise." I was in a rush and did not take the time to google it, or check our "Problems & Questions" post on the TWD website so I just winged it. In my haste, I read the instructions to say "slice each pear in half crosswise," so I thought that meant to slice them in half lengthwise. Turns out that crosswise means that they should be sliced width-wise. This was more of an aesthetic issue, not a taste issue, though, so I wasn't too upset about this.
I did not have a 9-inch tart shell, so I used two 5.5-inch tart pans instead. I was somehow able to get two 5.5-inch tarts from 1 9-inch tart recipe, but I had to double the almond cream to fill them both. If you don't have any tart pans, don't fret. You can make do with whatever you have in your kitchen. A springform pan works well, it just won't have the fluted edges of a tart pan. You could even use any small, ovenproof bowl - you just won't be able to unmold the tart before consumption.
This tart was absolutely delicious! The almond cream complemented the pears wonderfully. I love that you can make this tart using canned pears. Even if you poach your own pears, this is a great recipe to use for entertaining. It is simple and classic. You can partially bake the tart shell ahead of time, as well as the almond cream. Then on the day of your party, simply spread the almond cream in your shell, arrange the pears on top, and pop the tart in the oven for an hour and voila! An easy yet impressive dessert your guests are sure to enjoy.
Thank you Dorie, for choosing the French Pear Tart. Thank you especially for providing us with all these wonderful recipes and being so supportive of our baking group. I have really enjoyed being a part of this group. I've learned so much about baking, discovered recipes I would have never tried on my own, and met a wonderful community of friends.
If you would like the recipe for the tart, you can find it here. Make sure you visit the TWD Blog Roll to see how everyone else enjoyed this tart.
* Recipe notes:
- You can easily make your own almond meal at home using whole almonds and a food processor. Simply toss them in some boiling water for about 30-60 seconds until most have floated to the top. Drain and rinse with cold water, then remove the skins. The rest of my tips for making your own almond meal can be found here.
- If you're making your own almond meal, 3/4 cup of whole almonds will yield about 1 1/2 cups of almond meal so you'll need to halve that if you're only making one 9-inch tart.
- I did not place my tart pan on a baking sheet. Things tend to be underbaked when I do that.
- Using 5.5-inch tart pans, you'll need 1 tart dough recipe if you make your tart thin (1.5x or 2x recipe if you like a thicker tart), a double recipe of almond cream, and two 29 ounce cans of pear halves.
- For more tips, click here.