Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Pear Almond Tart

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!

37 comments:

  1. The two pear colors/flavors are simply inspired! And I love the platter your tart is on - how could it fit more perfectly? As much as I like chocolate too, it's nice to serve a dessert like this because everyone loves it/can eat it. I served it to a party of 8 to rave reviews. Two of the folks can't eat chocolate.
    Nancy

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  2. quel look magnifique ! c'est de toute beauté !

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  3. So pretty, great idea using the blackberries to give them a deep red color! It was very tasty one of the best recipes so far I think.

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  4. The tart is BEAUTIFUL!!

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  5. Your two-toned tart is terrific (I never could resist alliteration)!! If I had pears that looked that beautiful, I would have used them, too. I'm so glad that you really loved this so that you didn't have to lie to us. ;-) Beautiful tart!

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  6. Looks fantastic- I love the multi-colored pears!

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  7. This is so beautiful! I love the idea of putting in the blackberries for flavor. And yeah, my poaching took 50 minutes, too. Great job!

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  8. Wow! Your tart looks sooo pretty. I'm going to steal your blackberry poaching idea, that's fantastic!

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  9. Absolutely beautiful, Liz! So beautiful in fact, it looks like somthing one would almost want to waer... hummm... like a Massaï necklace of some sort! Hey! ...you might start a trend here... wearable food! LOL
    Really, truly superb!

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  10. I just love the design the pears made. Very creative to add berries, I was considering how to make another color pop out. Great job!

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  11. This looks absolutely gorgeous! I love the fact that your pears have two colours!!

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  12. I loved that you colored half of the pears. Your tart looks as wonderful as it tasted. Great job!

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  13. Absolutely LOVE the colors! Nicely done.

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  14. What a great idea to create multi-colored pears! I had to stop myself from consuming the entire tart at one time.

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  15. GORGEOUS tart Liz!!! Love the beautiful red hue on the pears.

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  16. Love the blackberry-tinted pears. Don't make me hate you.

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  17. The beautiful ruby red pear slices are so appealing to me. I wish I had the creativity to have thought of it!

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  18. The blackberried pears look just wonderful with the regular pears. What a great idea.

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  19. OH MY GOSH! This is amazing!! Amazing!!! These are sooooo pretty.

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  20. Wow. Poaching the pears WITH blackberries for color. *cough OVERACHIEVER cough* HAHA. Love the color contrast. Beautiful tart!
    Clara @ iheartfood4thought

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  21. Your tart is stunning, so beautiful! I thought you used red bartlett pears. Such a great idea to use blackberries (but that just makes me think...mmmm...blackberry almond tart...

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  22. The colored pears definitely bring the tart to life! It looks amazing, great job!!

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  23. crumb fairy10:05 PM

    Ya, we definitely have to talk...

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  25. I love the colors, great idea

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  26. Just gorgeous. I love the idea of the two colors of pears.

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  27. I am drooling over your tart. It is stunning! You really mastered this one!

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  28. I just LOVE what you did with the pears...they are so incredibly beautiful! You should be very proud!!!!

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  29. Your tart should be the accompanying photo in the book (since there isn't one). FAbulous!

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  30. gorgeous tart! looks like you had fun with this one :) what a great idea to add the berries for coloring.

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  31. After a photo shoot, standing up and with my bare hands is just about my favorite way to eat TWD goods. Very nicely done!

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  32. You've got the art of the tart down pat. The dual colors were a stroke of brilliance. It looks so professional!

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  33. That's gorgeous -- it never would have occurred to me to make it two colors. Absolutely brilliant!

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  34. Your tart is incredibly beautiful! Well Done!

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  35. hellooo, creative momma! lovely lovely lovely.

    I think you did a beautiful job. Sigh!

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  36. Wow, you took a simple tart and made it look incredibly beautiful. :) I'm impressed and inspired.

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  37. Looks divine, so good, I just cannot wait to try this recipe out. Lovely placement of the pears!

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