January 5, 2009
TWD: French Pear Tart
This week's Tuesdays With Dorie selection is the French Pear Tart chosen by our patron saint of baking herself, Ms. Dorie Greenspan.
I was excited to write this post until I realized that I actually have some critiques of the recipe and I soooo don't want to offend Dorie, especially on a week when she might actually read all 200+ posts. So Dorie, if you're here, if you made it to the letter K in the alphabetical listing, I just first want to say how much I admire and respect your work (and you). I love the book, I have at least 10 pounds of Dorie baking weight now added to my frame and many happy friends who enjoy the treats I bring them weekly. I have learned so much from the book!
Nevertheless.....oh and I so hate to go here but....I have to say that this recipe had me more confused than most.
So, Dorie, here are my questions: Was I supposed to knead that tart dough or leave it crumbly? It seemed like a contradiction in terms to me.
Was I supposed to leave the stem on the pears after halving them - I think you meant that, but I totally didn't get it even after reading the recipe twice and I ended up slicing them entirely. I think that's okay but after the fact, I wished I had left the pear halves intact and then fanning which is what I think you intended us to do (oops).
The almond cream seemed a little bland to me (so sorry, Dorie! just being honest here!). Did it maybe need a dash of salt? I have learned so much about the value of added salt from you Dorie, I really think it was needed here too.
To counter the blandness of the almond filling, I decided to brush my tart shell with some melted bittersweet chocolate after the partial baking. I loved it like that, though my husband thought it ended up too sweet and too rich. I of course had no problem with either of those things, since I am still eating it, 4 days later.
I loved the idea of poaching the pears first. If we liked alcohol in our desserts at my house, I might try poaching them in red wine & cinnamon next time. Another idea is to try adding some chocolate to the almond cream filling and make it a really chocolatey pear tart. Clearly, I need to make this one again and I know one little boy who might agree...