{TWD} French Pear Tartlets

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Bonne année!

Lately, it seems, I can’t get away from French related things. I was in French Polynesia for two weeks, I recently made a French Yule Log, my new favorite wine is French, and now we have the French Pear Tart (or in my case French Pear Tartlets). Actually, now that I think about it, my last name is French. 😛

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie was picked by Dorie Greenspan herself! Dorie is the baker and author of Baking…From My Home to Yours, the book we are all baking our way through weekly.

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For our first TWD recipe of the new year, Dorie selected the French Pear Tart. In the recipe preamble, Dorie discusses how she was surprised to learn that the French use canned pears to make this tart. She states that the tart tastes great with canned pears, but to take it to the next level you can poach your own pears.

Naked pears, waiting to be poached.

Naked pears, waiting to be poached.

I decided to poach my pears. Poach my pears. I like the way that sounds. I’m going to make that my new saying for 2009. Anyway, I split and scraped a whole vanilla bean into the poaching liquid to infuse the pears with vanilla flavoring.

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I used whole-wheat pastry flour and almond meal to make the crust.  Instead of one big tart, I decided to make four tartlets. It’s easier to share this way.

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After partially baking the crusts and letting them cool, I spread the almond cream in an even layer and on top of the cream I sprinkled minced candied ginger for that extra zing.

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Then came the tricky part for me–fanning the cut pears. Although they came out alright, this is the area I need more practice. I don’t have a good pear-fanning technique. I also, probably, over-filled my tarts with pears.

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Aesthetics aside, this tart was outstanding. The flavoring combination of almonds, pear, vanilla, and ginger was perfect.I cut the tartlets in quarters and took them to work. imgp3114

This recipe is great because you can do bits and pieces of it over the course of a few days. I poached the pears and made the crust on one day, made the almond cream on another day, and assembled/baked it on a third day.

For the recipe (and to see how a real pro does it), please visit Dorie’s website.

Perfect bite-size!

Perfect bite-size!

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