Canned Pears Go High Class: Whiskey Pear Tart

I recently made the blackberry pie from Baked Explorations (a post on the pie is forthcoming this weekend for Baked Sunday Mornings), and I couldn't help noticing the photo of the recipe immediately following the pie in the cookbook, a gorgeous "Whiskey Pear Tart." This tart has three separate whiskey components: an almond cream filling with whiskey, pears soaked overnight in whiskey, and a whiskey-pear glaze.  I decided to make the tart for an office party this earlier week. 

The recipe claims to yield either an 14-inch by 4-inch rectangular tart, or an 11-inch round tart.  I decided to go the rectangular route (the one pictured in the cookbook that caught my eye is rectangular), because I didn't think there would be enough crust or filling for the round tart.  I don't see how this recipe can be written for two such disparate pan sizes.  The rectangular tart only has an area of 56 square inches, but an 11-inch round tart has an area of 95 square inches.  No way are these equivalents.

Making this tart is a two-day process.  On day one, you need to make the tart dough (sugar, flour, salt, butter, and egg, pulsed together in the food processor) and mix together strained canned pear halves (reserving the heavy syrup from the can) with lemon juice, whiskey, sugar, and vanilla.  The tart dough and the pears need to be refrigerated overnight. 

On day two, you roll out the tart dough, put it in the tart pan, and blind bake the tart shell.  After it's cool, you fill the shell with an almond-whiskey cream (butter, almond paste, egg, cornstarch, and whiskey), put the pears on top, and bake the tart until the cream puffs up.  The tart is finished with a whiskey glaze made by reducing a mixture of the the reserved heavy syrup from the canned pears and the whiskey-lemon juice liquid used to soak the pears overnight, thickening the mixture with cornstarch, and adding in more whiskey at the end. 

The almond-whiskey cream puffed up beautifully in the oven and also came out a dark golden brown.  After brushing on the translucent brown glaze, the surface of the tart was positively gleaming.  This tart makes a really lovely presentation. 

The only problem with making a 14-inch by 4-inch rectangular tart is that you don't get a lot of servings!  I divided mine into 13 small slices (the photo above shows a 3-inch section before I cut it into smaller servings), and they went fast at the party, so I didn't actually get to try the tart!  But the enthusiastic raves I received from people who did get to have a piece have convinced me that this tart is a winner!  

Recipe: "Whiskey Pear Tart," from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.


Louise said…
That tart, and your execution of it, looks terrific. I've been trying things out of the cookbook too and I'll have to flag this recipe. I'm a Master Food Preserver Volunteer and this may be a recipe I prepare to show the students that there's options for how they use their home canned pears.
Wow, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a Master Food Preserver -- what a wonderful skill set to have!
Kris' Kitchen said…
Oh, I'm so sad you did not get to taste your beautiful tart. I enjoyed your write up and will not the sizes, etc when I bake it later. As for the blackberry pie, there was too much juice for the flour to thicken and I'm guessing that it sogged up your bottom crust to the point that no amount of baking time would fix it. With more flour it really did bake much better. But, I think next time I'll add even a little more. I'll watch for your post tomorrow.
Anonymous said…
Your tart looked beautiful! I made mine in an 11 inch round pan, and the dough was just barely enough. When I make pies I usually double the crust recipe and wish I had done it for this. The sweet tart crust is so tasty that having more of it would have been a plus.