I am always fascinated when I pull something out of the oven, set it on the counter to cool, turn the computer on, only to find out that some have just made and published somewhat of a similar thing. If I can find a couple of bloggers with the same inclinations towards similar flavors, how many of us out there in the world have made the same dessert? (or close).
It fascinated me the same way when at the restaurant customers would gravitate toward the same dessert one night but not the next. Was it something in the air? Familiar flavors of the season?
One thing for sure: there are flavors that will always go together like nuts, fruits, and chocolate. I have made this tart plenty of times and I always change or add something to the original recipe. I sometimes sprinkle chocolate chips over the pears before baking, I change the nuts, I add some liqueur, some caramel…I serve it with creme anglaise, chocolate sauce, raspberry coulis, ice cream (vanilla or more funky flavors)…the possibilities are endless, let your creative side speak! This time however, I give you the original version. It comes from a pocket size recipe book that I have had for the past 10 years filled with sweet and savory tart recipes. It travels with me almost everywhere I go.
Pear and Almond Tart, adapted from "Idees Recettes, Les Tartes Salees et Sucrees":
Sweet Tart Dough (I now have adopted the one from Dorie Greenspan):
In a food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 stick of butter, pulse until it ressembles coarse meal, add 1 egg yolk and pulse until combined into a ball. I flattened it into a disk in between sheets of plastic wrap, refrigerated it and rolled it out to cut rounds big enough to fit into my mini tart pans. The dough gets soft very fast so you can flour your fingertips to push it up and down the sides and bottoms of the pan. Cover with parchment paper, add pie weights (I use dry beans) and blind bake at 350 degrees until the crust is completely baked through. Let cool.
4 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced
200 gr. sugar
100 gr. ground almonds
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar, eggs, almonds, cream and vanilla and pulse until combined.
When your pie crust has cooled, arrange the pear slices at the bottom and slowly pour the cream over them. Bake at 350 F. until golden brown.
You don’t have to use your food processor to combine the filling ingredients together and you could it by handby whipping the sugar and eggs together, then adding the almonds, cream and vanilla.
Note: I had leftover cream and baked it in 2 ramequins in a water bath, kind of like a compromise between a flan and a creme brulee. It was delicious too!