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.

As for the tart filling "browning" in the oven, that never happened. No matter how long I left it in there, it seemed to reach one shade of golden and never go beyond it. I was also worried my pears were too wet as it looked very moist even after baking 15 minutes longer than specified, but I finally just took it out. Then I thought I had overbaked it because when it cooled, the filling had separated a bit from the pears and wasn't so pretty. Nonetheless, it turned out pretty darn yummy.

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...

Bernie enjoying his tart & cake!


chocolatechic said...

Great tart

I love the almond cream.

vibi said...

Weeee hooo heee! Is that chocolate I see at the bottom of the tart!? Yes! indeed! feeeeyooouuu! That must have mede it even more heavenly!

I see that you still haven't found the way to make quadrants! What's up with that?

Madam Chow said...

I added a pinch of salt to the filling because, like you, I thought it would add to the flavor and it did. As for your tart not browning, the part that browns is the almond cream, and if you cover your tart with the pears, you won't see much browning. It will taste really good . . . I LOVE the chocolate idea that you had! . . . but it won't brown.

Anonymous said...

The chocolate at the bottom sounds wonderful. The great thing about desserts that are too rich is that you only can eat a little at a time. :P

Cooking for Comfort by Jennifer said...

The picture of Bernie speaks for itself...I think we have a winner!

And chocolate on the tart, oh dear Lord....what a great idea!

Beautiful job!

Jacque said...

I used salted butter in my crust, come to think of it, and it was darn tasty.

Sorry you didn't love it :(

AmyRuth said...

Hi I poached my fresh pears, which meant coring them and using some old fashioned ingenuity. My brother's baby spoon. he he You definitely took it up a notch in the richness factor by adding the chocolate. Yummo
Maybe next time, the benefit of all the bakers experiences will facilitate a different outcome.

Anonymous said...