I am excited to have the opportunity to rejoin Tuesdays with Dorie, the worldwide group of food bloggers who pick and compare recipes from Ms Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. This week's recipe, the French Pear Tart on pages 368 and 369, is chosen by the author herself, so I just had to join in the fun despite the lack of canned or fresh pears at Vancouver's newest Urban Fare.
In a pinch, I pitted some preserved cherries and assembled the tart. Here's a slice:
Sweet cherries are nestled in a nutty, custard-like almond cake (frangipane) altogether held in a buttery shortbread crust (pâte sucrée).
Making the crust and frangipane cannot be any easier. The ingredients of each are just whirred together in a food processor. The threat of running out of these components is ever present: it is ever so tempting to just spoon out a dough of the shortbread crust, or a dollop of the frangipane. They are simply that good!
Incidentally, this week is the beginning of my Host, Diseases and Infections block in school, and I must point out that spooning raw dough or uncooked frangipane carries all the risks that come with eating raw eggs. So, save these for the tart.
Because the cherries are the main players in this dessert, I chose these wonderful non-alcoholic preserves from Mission Hill:
With all its dimples, this tart appears more casual and has a more relaxed elegance than the original pear version. It is reminiscent of another French home-baked comfort, the clafoutis.
I thoroughly enjoyed my last stint with TWD and am thankful that I am in good company once again. (Thanks, Laurie). Please see all my previous TWD baked goods by clicking on this link.
- Ms Greenspan will have pictures and the full recipe posted on her site.
- Pâte sucrée is basically a sugar cookie. Don't expect flaky pastry, think shortbread. The dough is very forgiving, easy to pat onto a pan or rolled for a more refined looking tart. Scraps can be re-rolled and re-used or can be dipped in sanding sugar to make cookies.
- Here is a video showing how to press crumbly dough onto a tart pan.
- The shell is best when baked to a deep golden brown. When you are nearing that perfect dark shade, stay close to the oven. The time it takes to go from perfect to burnt is very short.
- Sides are browning faster than the rest of the shell? Fashion a shield with foil or take a shiny aluminum tart pan one size larger than the one being used (without its bottom) and invert it over the baking shell.
- To prevent a soggy bottom, I partially blind-baked the crust, then brushed some beaten egg white on its surface then returned it briefly to the oven for five minutes to allow the egg white to seal the crust. I then proceeded to cool the crust, fill and bake as usual.
- Please visit Tuesdays with Dorie blogs. Click on "TWD-all" on the upper left to expand the list of TWD bakers, then click on anyone to view.