This French Pear Tart which I served at my recent brunch is simply an adaptation of Ina Garten,The Barefoot Contessa’s French Apple Tart which I have made numerous times.
I had bought a large bag of Forelle Pears when I spotted them at Costco on a recent visit. I first tasted them several years ago, and was hooked.
Forelle pears are not as well known as your Bartlett, Bosc, or Anjou, but they are more beautiful, every bit as delicious, and when ripe, they are as sweet as they come and yet still crunchy and juicy at the same time.
Their small size makes them perfect for snacking, adding to a salad, or serving with an assortment of cheeses.
They are actually perfect for a tart because their firmness keeps them from getting too mushy when baked.
I had enough left after snacking on them all week to use them in place of the apples in Ina’s recipe for the French Apple Tart.
This is the dessert to try whether using apples or pears, because even the most baking phobic among us will find success.
By using store bought puff pastry which you will find in the freezer section of most good grocery stores, and a few other simple ingredients you can create this fantastic tart that your guests will think you purchased at a French bakery.
French Pear Tart (adapted from Ina Garten’s French Apple Tart, Back to Basics)
-one sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted according to manufacturer’s directions
(I prefer Dufour’s, which can be found in better grocery stores, but Pepperidge Farm or Trader Joe’s will also do)
Note: Dufour’s is larger so you can roll it out to a 10” by 14 “rectangle. If using the others they are usually packaged 2 smaller ones to a package so you will just use one and roll it out to a 10 and1/2” by 10 and 1/2” square.
8 -10 Forelle pears
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges if necessary. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the pears.
Peel the pears and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler.
Slice the pears crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of pears diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with pear slices. (I tend not to use the end slices in order to make the arrangement beautiful.) Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the pears start to brown.
Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don’t worry! The juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine!
When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly or jam together with the water and brush the pears and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture.
Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.
And pat yourself on the back!