Well, I'll be dipped in melted Valrhona Le Noir Gastronomie 61% Chocolat! Not only does this week mark the first anniversary of Tuesdays with Dorie, but the woman who inspired it all, our beloved Dorie Greenspan, actually selected the recipe for us to bake this week for the occasion. Dorie chose her French Pear Tart, which she considers to be one of her favorite recipes from her baking bible, Baking: From My Home to Yours. It is a wonderful recipe - elegant, yet unfussy and oh, so French! I can see why she loves it so. Dorie explains that the tart is a classic of French pastry and a staple in patisseries all over France.
This particular French Pear Tart is also special to me as well. Not only was it the first recipe I ever tried from Dorie's excellent book, but it was also the first time I ever made a dough from scratch. Many of you may remember that when I started this blog, I was something of a "doughaphobe". If it didn't come out of the refrigerator case at the market, I didn't use it. When I saw that Dorie's Sweet Tart Dough required no rolling and could just be pressed into place, I breathed a sigh of relief and dove right in!
Afterward, as I took that first bite into its burnished, buttery crust, and the creamy-cakey almond filling laced with delicate poached pears made its way past my lips, I knew I had stumbled upon something very, very good.
There are three elements to this tart: the sweet tart dough, which is basically a fancy cookie dough; an almond cream, which is another staple in French baking; and poached fresh or canned pears. Both the dough and the almond cream can be whizzed up in the food processor in no time flat. I was quite surprised to learn that not only are canned pears an acceptable option for this tart, but that they are widely and blatantly used by French bakers. Who am I to flout convention? I used canned pears too.
When I served my tart, I drizzled a little butterscotch-caramel sauce over the top of each slice, to make it.....well.....over the top. And, it was!
To see a few hundred other French Pear Tarts, stop by and check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll. If you'd like to try making this tart for yourself, the recipe can be found in Dorie's book and also on her web site. Try it. I promise you won't be disappointed.