This Rustic Pear Tart is not the most beautiful you will see but it really does taste delicious. It’s based on a family recipe from a wonderful spiral bound cookbook illustrated by my husband and his sister when they were little.
Over the years I’ve gradually changed a few things here and there to update the tart a bit and make it my own. I’ve also converted it into cups from grams. However the heart and soul of it is still the recipe my mother in law used to make. I find myself making more and more of her recipes recently. She had a serious stroke nine weeks ago, and although she is making a reasonably good recovery in hospital, it’s unlikely she will be doing much baking in the future. She is enjoying food again though, and hearing about us making her dishes seems to please her. Food and cooking are continuity even through the difficult times of life, and I am constantly amazed by the different ways in which cooking comforts us and unites us with our families across difficulty, distance and time.
Rustic Pear Tart
You need an 8 inch flan or pie dish.
For the pastry:
1¾ cups flour
½ cup butter, cut in small cubes
2 teaspoons sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
For the filling:
2 to 3 tablespoons apricot or peach jam
½ cup granulated sugar
1¼ cups ground almonds (almond flour)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled a bit
1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur (or 1 teaspoon almond extract)
3 tablespoons cream or half and half
2 medium tins of pear halves in juice or syrup, well drained
(you need about six nice pear halves)
about 1 tablespoon Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
about 2 tablespoons flaked almonds, for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325℉ or 160℃.
Cut the flour and butter together in a bowl (or use a food processor) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the sugar, and then gradually add the milk until you have a soft pliable dough that you can make into a large ball. If you want to roll out your pastry, you’ll need to pop it into the fridge to chill for about an hour before rolling. However, I just press this easy pastry into the flan dish, working it up the edges. Pop in the fridge while you make the filling.
Mix together the sugar, ground almonds, egg and egg yolk, melted butter, cream and the liqueur or almond flavouring until you have a smooth batter.
Get the pastry out of the fridge and using a pastry brush, coat the pastry in the apricot jam. Pour the filling on top of this and spread it evenly to the edges. Arrange the pears on top of this mixture, gently pressing them into it so it comes up round the edges of the pears, but leaves the tops uncovered.
Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and the flaked almonds (if using). Put in the oven for twenty to thirty minutes until the tart is lightly browned and the filling set. Cool on a wire rack.
You can serve this warm or at room temperature and it is lovely with a bit of cream or (my personal favourite) ice cream.